5 Common Tax Scams Leading to Identity Theft

Tax season, for many people, means a nice, big refund check. For others, it means getting scammed.

Tax identity theft occurs when identity thieves use a legitimate taxpayer’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund. The IRS is aware of this growing concern, but unfortunately, tax returns still get divvied out to thieves in identity theft cases.

5 Most Common Tax Scams

  • Using your Social Security number to file a bogus tax return. Keep your Social Security card locked away. If a con artist has access to your social security number, the damage is endless. Invest in secure, professional document shredding service for any papers including tax information or your Social Security number.
  • Ring, Ring, Ring…it’s the IRS. A true tax identity thief can master the art of impersonation. If someone calls asking you to give them bank account or Social Security numbers over the phone, they’re probably a scammer.
  • Promise of an over-abundant return. Stay away from “tax preparers” who make false promises of giving you a bigger return than any other firm.
  • Beating you to the punch. If someone files taxes with your information after you’ve completed the process, the identity theft will have failed. Don’t forget document shredding for all papers when you’ve completed your return.
  • Fake charities. In the midst of disaster, empathy is inevitable—but don’t let empathy turn into vulnerability. Fake charities will be in full throttle around tax season since donating is tax-deductible. The IRS’s website offers a search feature called Exempt Organizations Select Check allowing you to identify legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible.

If you have your taxes done by a firm, be sure to verify they use a professional document shredding service or provide you a copy of their written policies and procedures. For as hard as you work to file your taxes, con artists work just as hard to throw it all away.

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