The scam has been around long before the IRS was formed. The famous phrase “The cat’s out of the bag” is commonly attributed to a famous scam of the earlier ages.

The people of the time are said to have transported purchased piglets from the market place in a bag for easy carrying. The scam came when the merchant would swap a street cat for the piglet, not losing any money.

The secret was out when the cat was let out of the bag. Hence, “the cat’s out of the bag” means the deep dark secret has been let out to be examined in the light, usually to the chagrin of the figurative merchant.

Scamming, cheating, and stealing is nothing new to the world, the techniques are simply changing. “Merchants” have changed their ways, appearance, and voice, but their intentions are just the same.

The key is learning how to separate the dishonest merchants from the honest ones. In the case of taxes, people need to learn to identify the IRS from the scammers.

Luckily, the IRS is on board with helping you do that. They have listed a number of traits on their website to help you identify the voice, look, and feel of the dishonest.

Dishonest merchants like to promise you things that are easy, and too good to be true. Here are 4 too good to be true promises to verify with the IRS before you do anything.

First up is the claim that refunds or rebates are yours to be claimed. They are usually connected with excess or withheld Social Security benefits.

Nothing dealing with the IRS is easy. You’ve learned this by now.

A press one button and get the world attitude is surely not the IRS’s way of dealing with tax payers. Seeing one of these buttons should throw up red flags.

Second, an unfamiliar name will claim to be teaming up with local churches to make the difference. As despicable as it may seem, some of these godless scams are claiming to be working with God-fearing men.

If it’s unfamiliar, don’t trust it. Move on instead.

Third, you receive an offer for free money without documentation required. The IRS documents everything they give or receive.

Theirs is a job that requires exact accuracy. They would never allow money or information to be given without documentation of it happening.

Would you expect an accountant or a grocery store to make a transaction without keeping a record? Of course not, expect documentation on both ends of the stick.

Fourth, watch out for false claims that a Treasury Form 1080 can transfer funds from the Social Security Administration to the IRS, enabling a payout from the Internal Revenue Service. If such a legitimate form existed for such a purpose, it would be found on the official IRS web page, not shrouded in mystery.

Anything secret or “getting around the man” is either illegal or illegitimate. Don’t fall for either or you could regret it sooner than later.

Look to a trusted tax attorney when you think something has gone seriously wrong with your taxes or identity. Look to the IRS when you are suspicious of a potential scam.

You can report tax scams on their website. Go to the bottom and click “Reporting Phishing.”