Consumer alert: IRS warns against holiday scam, bogus filing

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MEMPHIS, Tenn.  --  The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers not to fall for the latest scam!

A pitch for quick money at Christmas, could come back to bite at tax time.

Who could refuse extra cash at Christmas?

However, the IRS says be careful where you get it.

The agency told the On Your Side Investigators it has already taken a number of phone calls from taxpayers who say they're being told they can file an early return.

Spokesperson Mark Green told WREG, "The way taxpayers are approached is you can use your last paycheck stub in the month of December to file your tax return and get a federal refund. Well, that by itself is misleading, mis-communicated and definitely not true."

The filing season isn't even open yet, nor is the IRS accepting information.

Green says what's likely happening is taxpayers are being conned into some sort of loan.

The bait and switch also happens in reverse.

Taxpayers go in for a holiday loan, and at the same time, turn over valuable personal information such as social security number and dependents that can later be used without their knowledge.

Green says, "Then when the tax season opens, they can actually use it against them to prepare a bogus tax return."

It's not the first time the On Your Side Investigators have heard about this.

Many of those disgruntled Mo' Money customers from years ago, said they went in around the holidays.

So did a customer of Reliable Taxes who told WREG more than a year ago, "I was going in for the instant loan, I wasn't approved and he went ahead, I left out the door, he still did my taxes without me knowing."

Green says it's important to keep in mind, "You definitely cannot file a tax return in the month of December, using your last paycheck stub nor can you receive a federal refund."

He also told WREG that a taxpayer's last paycheck stub often does not match the W-2. This means they could end up having to file twice, pay additional preparation fees and possibly even owe the IRS.

If you are interested in getting a holiday loan, make sure you do your homework and are dealing with a reputable company. Understand the fees and interest associated with the loan. Plus, it should not be tied to a tax refund.

Green added, "Make sure you don't give out your personal information to anyone you cannot trust, most importantly watch out for the scams."


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