Protect yourself from fraud during tax season

Posted at 6:23 AM, Feb 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-19 23:35:22-05

We're exactly two months away from the April 15th tax deadline. Filing early isn't only about saving you time but it can also be about saving you from scammers.

File your tax return as early as possible – The sooner you file your taxes the better the chances you can thwart any attempts on scammers stealing your identity. Scammers do their best to try to file a return before the legitimate person does so they can get the tax refund before anyone is aware of it. They usually use pre-paid debit cards to avoid being traced. By filing your taxes early you avoid this from happening.

Never give your personal information to anyone – Even if your uncle Johnny, Aunt Betty, or Cousin Joe says that they can get you a bigger refund make sure you are only trusting your personal information with a licensed tax professional. Specifically you should only do your taxes with someone who has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number which means they are authorized and certified to prepare taxes. Your personal information in the wrong hands can cause great damage.

Protect Your Information When You File - Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office. Taking this extra pre-caution assures that your information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. This also means that you should not use public computers or public WiFi hotspots when filing your taxes. Make sure that your passwords are not easy to figure out, and that you keep your tax records in a secure place.

Be careful of IRS Phishers - Know the IRS won’t contact you by email, text, or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will contact you by mail. So when you get that suspicious call from an "IRS agent" most likely it is a scam. Also be careful about replying to email from the IRS. This also most likely a scam that is designed to obtain your personal information. If you ever have any questions of the validity of a correspondence then go directly to and us the contact us tab to reach out to the IRS.

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