Tax Day Fraud

Good afternoon all,

Happy Tax Day……well not exactly. As I am sure you are all aware, Federal taxes are not due this year until Monday, April 18th. Why was the due date moved this year you ask? Well, today is a holiday for public employees in Washington DC. They celebrate Emancipation Day on April 16th each year which is the day that Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which effectively ended slavery in Washington DC by compensating slaveholders for freeing their slaves in 1862. Since the 16th falls on a weekend this year, the public employees, including the IRS, get today off. So, thanks to a DC holiday, you get until Monday to file your Federal return.

BUT, also…..

Having those extra days, apparently provides scammers and criminals with the opportunity to try and defraud many unsuspecting citizens using the IRS as a guise. I heard a warning this morning on WFIR about the risk of getting emails and phone calls from scammers pretending to be the IRS to get your personal information. To protect you and your clients, keep in mind that the IRS only uses traditional, certified mail to contact you about important information.

And Sellers beware……

Please let your clients know that real estate transactions are being targeted as easy prey for scammers as well. There are many instances where criminals are cyber-invading emails or other information of the parties involved with a real estate transaction, be it a purchase or refinance, residential or commercial. The scammer will find details about the transaction, then a few days before closing, under the guise of the seller or borrower or their representative, they will attempt to have the funds wired to a fake account. Some have been successful, costing millions of dollars across the country. A best practice, we often employ when there is a question regarding the validity of the instructions we receive is to verify any changes to wiring instructions or to where funds are to be delivered via phone or in person.

And to end on a happier note. We are thankful it’s going to be a beautiful weekend. Go out and support the Blue Ridge Marathon or the Down by Downtown Music Festival. There are lots of exciting things happening in this wonderful Region in which we all live.

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