Tax season is here, and scammers are aware of this.
Con artists will use people’s Social Security numbers to file fake tax returns in order to steal refunds. One way those filing a tax return can to protect their information is to use an Identity Protection PIN that has been issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If a person filed their tax return online last year then a number may have already been issued.
Rebecca Curtis, Owner of “Real Deal Taxes, LLC” says it’s best to “make sure that you’re confident and you know your preparer”. When searching for someone to handle your taxes Rebecca urges people to know the business that you’re going to. “You can’t trust everybody with your personal information so do your research”. You can contact the BBB. You can contact the local chamber if need be. Just make sure who you’re working with and make sure they are certified and qualified
How to Avoid Tax ID Theft Scams:
- File early. The best way to avoid tax identity theft is to file your taxes as early as possible, before a scammer has the chance to use your information.
- Watch out for red flags. If a written notice from the IRS arrives in the mail about a duplicate return, respond promptly. Or, if an IRS notice arrives stating you received wages from somewhere you never worked, or receive other notices that don’t actually apply to you, contact the IRS office immediately. Another big red flag is if you receive a notice that “additional taxes are owed; the refund will be offset or collection actions are being taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return. Contact the IRS if you have any suspicions that your identity has been stolen.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don’t give out your SSN unless there’s a good reason and you’re sure who you’re giving it to.
- Research your tax preparer. Make sure your tax preparer is trustworthy before handing over your personal information.
- If you are a victim of ID theft, consider getting an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN). This is a six-digit number, which, in addition to your Social Security number, confirms your identity. Once you apply, you must provide the IP Pin each year when you file your federal tax returns. Visit IRS.gov for more information.