LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The Louisiana Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers to protect themselves from tax scams.
Taxpayers are urged to watch out for tax scams that can drain bank accounts, damage credit ratings and even, get them into trouble with the law.
Byron Henderson, Public Information Director with the Louisiana Department of Revenue, said.
“The important thing to remember is that right now there is a lot of information flying around because people are filing their taxes that criminals are interested in stealing. They can use this information to drain your bank account. They can use it to open up credit card accounts in your name.”
According to the Louisiana Department of Revenue, the most prevalent tax scams can include:
- Preparer Fraud
- Phone Scams
- Identity Theft
“One of the ones that we’re most concerned about is preparer fraud,” explained Henderson. “What’ll happen is an unscrupulous tax preparer will offer an outrageously large refund. For example, something larger that you might get from another preparer.”
Henderson said the way these fraudulent tax preparers do this is by understating clients’ taxable income.
“They will exaggerate your business or personal losses that you’ve experienced throughout the year. They will claim inappropriate tax credits and tax deductions.”
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “When you’re using a tax preparer, basically you’re bringing to the table all of your personal information. Your social security information, where you work, how much money you make. So you really want to make sure that it’s a reputable tax preparer that you’re using.”
Some tips to protect yourself from these tax scams:
- Never sign a blank return.
- Review and ask questions before signing a return.
- Avoid tax preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers without first reviewing your returns.