Identity Theft – This happens when someone uses your personal information such as a Social Security number to file their taxes under your name to collect a refund for themselves.
- Make sure to keep your personal information safe.
- Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet & only give it out when necessary.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information via phone, email or online.
- Shred bank statements and receipts or sign up for e-statements.
- Create strong passwords for all your online accounts.
Phone Scams – Be aware that the IRS will never call you unexpectedly or demand money immediately.
- Be suspicious of calls asking for information such as credit card or bank account numbers.
- If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS requesting money, hang up.
- Report it to the IRS via their website www.irs.gov
Phishing – This is a scam that attempts to gain your personal information through posing as a business. This can happen through a fake email or website that appears to be legitimate, requesting personal information such as your credit card number, Social Security number or passwords.
- Make sure to look closely at the sender’s email address or the website address, looking for extra or missing letters.
- If something about the email seems suspicious or you are unsure, call the company directly.
- Enhance the security of your computer by downloading the latest anti-virus software.
Tax Return Preparer Fraud – Tax preparers can be very helpful but always do your research before settling on a preparer and giving them your personal information.
- Make sure that the tax preparer has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
- Your tax preparer must sign your return and if they do not, they are not allowed to submit the return.
- Beware of tax preparers who promise a higher refund than last year even if your situation has not changed.
- Watch out for preparers who base their fees on a percentage of your refund (they are more likely to be engaging in fraud).