Protect yourself from tax-time scams

The deadline to file your taxes is only days away, but this is prime time for thieves who want to steal your identity. They know you are in a hurry to get your return in on time, so they figure you might just miss a few red flags that could alert you to a /*tax scam*/. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself.

IRS never initiates correspondence by e-mail
If you receive an e-mail asking for your financial information that claims to be from the /*Internal Revenue Service*/, be wary. The /*IRS*/ never initiates correspondence about your accounts by e-mail. They rely solely on the U.S. mail.

Identity thieves can easily exploit the IRS seal or bogus Web site images to fake authenticity in hopes of stealing your money. Keep in mind you won't ever get audited and you won't receive your refund by e-mail.

What to do if you receive a suspicious e-mail
If you get a suspicious e-mail claiming to be from the IRS, authorities want to know about it. Do not respond to the scam e-mail, do not open any attachments or click on any links. Instead, forward the information on to the IRS and then delete the e-mail from your inbox.

Some indications that your personal information may have been compromised:

  • You hear from the IRS that more than one tax return was filed for you
  • There are indications that you earned wages from an employer unknown to you
  • You've received a questionable e-mail
What to do if you think your personal information is compromised
If you receive a letter from the IRS that leads you to believe someone may have fraudulently used your Social Security number, contact the agency immediately.

Unscrupulous Tax Preparers
Unscrupulous tax preparers will add fictitious expenses, false deductions and unallowable credits to a taxpayer's return. They either file electronically or have the taxpayer sign blank forms. The tax preparers then have the refunds returned to them rather than taxpayers. They often either keep the money or keep a portion of the refunds as their fee.



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