BBB warns of ‘tax identity theft scam’

National

TAMPA, Fla. (CNN/WFLA) – It’s tax season and that can mean, “scam” season.

The Better Business Bureau is getting the word out with Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.

Most people groan about filing their taxes. But for a con artist, it can be a chance to steal your return. All a scammer needs is your social security number.

Here are some tips on 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 you receive written notice from the IRS about a duplicate return, respond promptly. You may also receive an IRS notice stating that you’ve received wages from somewhere you never worked, or receive other notices that don’t actually apply to you. Another big red flag is if you receive a notice that “you owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return” (IRS). Contact the IRS if you have any suspicions that a return has been filed in your name.
  • 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.

The BBB also says to be aware of IRS imposters. It says if someone calls you and demands money immediately, don’t pay it.

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week runs Feb. 3 to 7.

For more information, click here.

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