Friday was officially the first day of tax season, and unfortunately, scammers are already looking for their next victim. The IRS is warning all taxpayers to be cautious and keep their personal information protected throughout this tax season. According to the IRS, the biggest threat for tax fraud this year is identity theft.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your social security number or other identifying information, without your knowledge, to commit crimes in your name. During tax season, the most common fraud occurs when an individual steals someone’s identity, and then falsely files a return in their name, to claim their refund.
This year, the IRS has issued some tips to help protect individual taxpayers from falling victim to Identity Theft:
1. Don’t talk to any individuals over the phone who claim to be with the IRS. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer over the phone. If someone does call you claiming to be with the IRS, they are probably a scammer trying to get personal information out of you. Never give any information over the phone.
2. Do not answer any e-mails from anyone claiming to be with the IRS, or open any attachments that are sent with those e-mails. Just like with the phone situation, the IRS will never contact anyone via e-mail. This type of scam is known as phishing, and scammers will use this to lure people into providing private information. If you do receive an e-mail in this manner, the IRS recommends that you forward the e-mail to email@example.com. This will help the IRS to catch the individuals involved in the fraud.
3. Be cautious of notices sent from the IRS at the beginning of the tax season. Many times individuals will try to defraud taxpayers at the beginning of the tax season, so they can file a fraudulent return in their name before the taxpayers even realize. The IRS advises to make sure a tax notice is legitimate before responding to it. One way to do this is to go to a tax preparation specialist with the notice. They can help you determine if it is a legitimate notice, as well as the proper action to take upon determination.
Following these tips should help you to avoid any possible tax scams for this tax season and keep your identity safe. However, if you believe that you are a victim of identity fraud or know of any suspicious tax activities, you should contact the IRS right away. The IRS provides forms on their website that you can fill out and file to help them remedy the situation right away.
At Max Tax Agency we help individuals who have been victims of identity theft. Our tax professionals take all the steps necessary to improve their tax record, file a correct return, and take all the necessary precautions to ensure the taxpayer never has to deal with identity theft again!