Scammers could get to your tax refund before you do! How to protect yourself

Tax season is here!

For those of you expecting a refund, you are probably looking forward to it. But scammers may beat you to it.

It’s IRS identity fraud and versions of this scam pop up every year around this time.

The Federal Trade Commission has deemed this Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.

The short version of this scam is the hackers get your information and file your taxes before you do.

That refund you expected ends up in their account.

The key to this scam is your Social Security Number. If they have it, they are on their way to getting your information.

Here are some important steps to take to prevent becoming a victim:

  • Protect your SSN. If someone asks, figure out why they need it and never carry your card in your wallet.
  • File your tax return early.
  • Use a secure internet connection to file.
  • If you are mailing, do it directly from the post office.
  • Research your tax preparer. The IRS has a webpage where you can check credentials.

The FTC is holding webinars this week; classes you can view online with the latest scams and tips to protect yourself.

You can find out more about those webinars here.

The IRS also created a taxpayer guide to identity theft which you can access here.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
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