Watch out for IRS scams old and new

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - By now it seems like the oldest con in the books... a threatening call from the IRS telling you you owe them money. As we've reported time and time again: The call is fake.

“The IRS does not make phone calls, text messages,” says Sam Holland, an agent with the IRS.

Holland says there is arguably nothing more personal than your tax return. It contains a Social Security number, driver's license information, complete name, birth date, address.

That is plenty of information that if stolen can create a whole new identity where credit cards, bank accounts, car loans can all be obtained fraudulently.

The IRS is asking tax preparers to step up their security measures to secure their clients' sensitive information.

This year the agency has uncovered a new scam where fraudsters contact a client who is having a tax preparer work on his taxes. In that phone call someone identifying himself as an IRS representative tells the client the federal agency has accidentally put the wrong tax return money in the client's account. They are instructed to remove the money and return it. That return, it turns out, goes to a bogus account, not to the IRS.

In fact the legitimate tax preparer may not yet have even filed the tax return. Both of you find out someone has filed a tax return in your name when that tax return is rejected by the IRS.

“The identity thieves will steal people's identification throughout the year. And then during tax time, early in tax season, they will flood the IRS with fraudulent tax returns in other people's names,” says Holland.

Also be aware of Phishing scams where emails allegedly from the IRS ask you to update your personal information. The IRS says while it does use email, the agency will never ask for personal or financial information to be transferred that way.

There are also fraudulent IRS websites. If you want more information on scams, proper procedures or what you should do it someone has filed a tax return fraudulently in your name, click here.