As a new tax season begins, keep in mind scammers will be revving up their efforts to steal YOUR money. The scams come in different forms: phishing emails, harassing phone calls, and tax return identity theft.
Here are some steps to help keep your identity and money safe:
- File taxes early to avoid scammers
- Be cautious about tax-related emails. Do not use links within the email. Instead, go to the website and log directly into your account for relevant information.
- Hang up on IRS impersonator phone calls
- Report suspicious emails or phone calls ASAP
- Shred bank and tax documents before throwing away
- Update your security software
The IRS offers an option called Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) that assigns a unique six-digit code to eligible taxpayers that helps limit fraudulent tax returns. There is more information available at https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/get-an-identity-protection-pin.
Here are some reminders about the IRS. They will NEVER:
- Call about past taxes without having mailed several notices first
- Call to demand payment with threats to involve law enforcement and have you arrested
- Call or email asking you to divulge personal and/or financial information
- Require payment without allowing you to appeal or even question the amount due
- Require you to use a specific payment method like a pre-paid debit card
- Ask for your credit/debit card and/or bank information over the phone
Sources: Internal Revenue Service