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Utah Department of Public Safety warns of tax scam

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UTAH, March 8, 2020 — Utah Department of Public Safety officials are warning residents of a tax scam making the rounds this filing season.

“Beware of tax return preparers boasting of inflated tax refunds,” said a tweet from Utah DPS. “Find more tips to prevent cyber crime during tax time here.”

The tweet then shares a link to an Internal Revenue Service news release.

The news release said: “Return preparers promising larger refunds than competitors or providing refunds substantially larger than taxpayers have routinely seen could be a warning sign.”

Con artists promising overly large refunds frequently prey on older Americans and low-income taxpayers and those who don’t have a filing requirement, the news release said. They may also victimize non-English speakers who may or may not have a requirement to file a tax return.

“Scam artists can use flyers, advertisements, phony storefronts or word-of-mouth to attract victims,” the news release said. “They may even make presentations through community groups or churches. These unscrupulous individuals may dupe others into making claims for fictitious rebates, benefits or tax credits. They may also file a false return in their client’s name, and the client never knows that a refund was paid.”

Cons may also target those with a filing requirement who are due a tax refund. This may be done by promising larger refunds based on fake Social Security benefits and false claims for education credits or the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), among others.

Those perpetrating these scams can face significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. To protect taxpayers, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division works closely with the Department of Justice to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

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