Consumer: IRS warning, Pinterest scam

March 6, 2012 3:04:40 PM PST
The IRS is warning you to watch out for all kinds of con artists trying to steal your money.

This tax season, the criminals are apparently even willing to go to church to carry out the scam.

The IRS says thieves are targeting elderly and low-income churchgoers, asking them to claim fraudulent tax refunds.

The crooks approach victims in person or send flyers and paperwork to churches, claiming to represent a non-profit tax assistance organization.

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College credit tax scam

Criminals are also claiming they can get a tax refund or nonexistent stimulus payment based on the American Opportunity Tax Credit - even if the victim isn't enrolled in or paying for college.

Typically, the con artists falsely claim the refunds or college credits are available even if the victim went to school decades ago.

Forgiven debt still taxable

Here's a warning if you've ever had credit card debt that was forgiven. Debts that were canceled or forgiven are considered taxable income and you'll get a 1099-C tax form from your lender.

However, there are some cases where you won't have to pay the tax bill. You qualify for an exemption if you, for instance, filed for bankruptcy.

If you do get a 1099-C - contact your lender if you think the info's incorrect. If your lender won't revise the form - report the amount on the 1099-C on your tax return and make an adjustment to correct the error.

Click with caution!

Security software experts are warning about a phishing scam targeting Pinterest users.

Pinterest is the social networking site that lets you "pin" images of anything you'd like.

Trend Micro says con artists are pinning images and messages that offer supposed freebies from merchants like Starbucks and Coach.

If you click on those images - you eventually end up on some kind of scam site.

RELATED: More information on the Pinterest scam