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AARP Arizona Warns Members to Avoid Tax Scams

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is warning taxpayers that con artists and identity thieves are out to scam them during tax season. (cohdra/morguefile)
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is warning taxpayers that con artists and identity thieves are out to scam them during tax season. (cohdra/morguefile)
February 24, 2016

PHOENIX - It's not just tax season, it's also tax-scam season. AARP Arizona is warning its members to take steps to avoid tax rip-offs by con artists and other criminals that could cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.

Cynthia Fagyas, communications director for AARP Arizona, says AARP's Fraud Watch Network warns scammers often call taxpayers impersonating the Internal Revenue Service, using threats and intimidation to get them to pay a bogus tax bill over the phone.

"The IRS does not call to demand any immediate payment about taxes owed," says Fagyas. "The IRS does not ask for credit or debit cards over the phone, either. And lastly, the IRS doesn't threaten to bring the police over to your house to arrest you."

Fagyas says the IRS will always notify you by mail of anything regarding a tax return.

She also says identity thieves can use your information to file a counterfeit tax return, collect a refund and leave you to clean up the mess.

AARP recommends taxpayers protect their identities with such commonsense steps as locking the mailbox, hiding driver's licenses and other ID cards, and shredding papers that contain identifying information.

Fagyas adds the AARP Foundation's Tax Aide program provides free tax preparation assistance for low-and-moderate income taxpayers, with more than 1,000 volunteers in dozens of locations across Arizona.

"The volunteers are all trained with the assistance of the IRS and we've had a very successful Tax-Aide program operating here in Arizona for quite a few years now," says Fagyas.

She adds information on avoiding tax scams or help with preparing income-tax returns both are available online. Tax Aide locations can also be found by calling 888-227-7669.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ