Tax Season = SCAMS

taxesAccording to Congress’ Government Accountability Office, the IRS detected 642,000 cases of identity theft in the first nine months of 2012, up from 242,000 in all of 2011. Nearly 16,000 taxpayers complained of problems related to identity theft to the Taxpayer Advocate in the first half of fiscal 2012, a 57 percent increase over the previous year.

Identity thieves use a taxpayer’s identity, stolen by phishing emails or other methods, to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund. The legitimate taxpayer may be unaware that anything has happened until they file their return later in the filing season and discover two returns have been filed using the same Social Security number.

What can you do to avoid becoming a target?

First, beware of emails that appear to be from the IRS. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or social media tools to request personal or financial information. The IRS also does not send emails stating you are being electronically audited or that you are getting a refund. If you receive this type of email, you can assume it is fake. Ignore it or, better yet, forward it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

 

Visit www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection for more details.

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