(WVNS)– Tax season is here and so are the scammers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns Americans about a tax scam that could take your full tax refund check.
According to the BBB article, when you file your taxes as normal you would expect a refund from the IRS. But instead some people have gotten a written IRS notice saying that more than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number.
Scammers were able to take your personal information like your birthday, social security number, and address. They filed your taxes before you had the chance to and were able to receive your refund early.
The BBB states that there are several ways that you can avoid this:
- 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. Visit IRS.gov for more information
The article also states that scammers use several ways to get this information. Some people fall victim to phishing scams like a corrupt tax preparation service, or had your information exposed in a hack or data breach.
For more information about tax scams check out BBB Tip on Tax Scams.