JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)– We’re in the heart of tax season. Tax preparers are working hard, but so are scammers, looking to take advantage of people. There are ways to protect yourself..

Prosecutors say Shelleen Ivory Farmer managed ABS Tax Services in Macon. They say she stole clients’ money by falsifying tax returns, claiming education credits and itemizing deductions. ​

“Just here recently we had the Shelleen Ivory Farmer case who pled guilty to filing bad tax returns in excess of $1 million,” said Demetrius Hardeman, an IRS Special Agent in Charge. ​”She has already agreed to pay over $200,000 in restitution.” ​

Hardeman covers Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.​

“A reputable tax preparer is going to make sure they go over the tax return with you once it’s completed,” said Hardeman. “They’re ​not going to ask you to sign a blank form.”

The higher your refund that doesn’t mean the more money you should have to pay your​ tax preparer.​

You also want to be aware of phishing scams the IRS will never ask you to pay a bill over the internet. The information will come in writing in the ​mail ​

Watch out for those robocalls. Some of those calls may also include the caller saying you owe a tax debt to the IRS and you have to make ​an immediate payment or law enforcement is coming to arrest you. ​

Theives look for social security numbers and other personal information to file false returns.​

​​​IRS agents say they will never make demands and they are actively investigating these crimes.

To secure a safe return , irs.gov has a list of tax preparer services
If you think you’re a victim, report it to irs.gov and the ​Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration​