Nobody enjoys watching a significant portion of their wages go ::poof:: before their paycheck hits their bank accounts, but you know what they say right? Nothing is certain but death and taxes. 

Social media’s been full of little “life hacks” for as long as we can remember. Some of them are harmless. For example, putting a quarter on top of a frozen cup of water in your freezer to prevent yourself from eating food that may have spoiled during a power outage is pretty smart. Adding paper towels to the crisper drawer of your fridge to keep veggies from going limp is worth trying too. 

READ MORE: Idahoans Keep Falling For These 6 Common Scams

Unfortunately, with the explosion of TikTok’s popularity and America’s growing fascination with social media influencers there can be a lot of really bad and incorrect “hacks” on social media. It’s something that the IRS continues to warn people about. Leading up to the April 15 tax deadline, the agency counted down what they called the “dirty dozen” of tax scams. Now thousands of Americans, including Idahoans, who were due to receive higher than normal returns are biting their fingernails after stumbling across the warning more than a month too late. 

Idahoans May Have Fallen Victim to Three Major Tax Scams

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As the IRS continues to process recent returns, they’re starting to see signs that thousands of Americans may have been scammed by bad tax advice that spread across social media like wildfire. One of the most common scams this year involved telling anyone with a job to fill out a Form 7202 to get a credit for sick leave or family leave. According to the IRS’s website, this was a credit that was only available to self-employed people. It was created during the uncertainty of the pandemic, but wasn’t available for 2023 returns. 

Other social media posts encouraged taxpayers to pursue a Fuel Tax Credit made available for off-highway business and farming use. Most average Joes or Janes aren’t eligible for the credit. 

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Finally, the IRS noticed that a lot of people were making up people that worked in order to get back some money for “sick” or family “medical leave” wages they never paid these imaginary employees. 

Filing a False Return Could Mean Criminal Prosecution

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If any of these sound familiar and you have a gut feeling you fell for bad advice, there’s some bad news. According to Newsweek, if you file for credits you’re not eligible for, your return could be flagged and frozen. If that happens, the IRS will reach out to you to see if you do qualify for the credits. If you don’t qualify you may face a penalty of up to $5,000. If you filed a false return on purpose, you could also face criminal charges and jail time.

The good news is that if you were misled into filing for these credits, you can file an amended return to make it right. This will remove the credits and you’ll eventually get your return…without going to jail! 

KEEP READING: Idahoans Keep Falling for These 6 Common Scams

According to the Boise Police, these are some of the most common scams Idahoans will encounter over the phone, mail or online.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

Five Area Codes Scammers Use to Scam Unsuspecting Idahoans and Californians

According to SocialCatfish.com, these are area codes that Idahoans and Californians should avoid answering calls from. They're international numbers frequently associated with phone scams. Answering them or calling them back could result in high international calling fees.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

8 Domestic Area Codes Scammers Use to Scam Unsuspecting Idahoans & Californians

According to GoBankingRates, scammers don't JUST use international area codes to swindle people out of their money. They've been using these legitimate American area codes as well.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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