IRS can send you a pin number to protect your tax refund

Tax filing time is around the corner. If you’re not careful, your refund could end up in someone else’s bank account.

Crooks could try to steal your identity to try and get your tax refund.

How it works: Someone files your taxes using your name and social security number in order to get your refund sent to them.

These types of scammers typically file very early before most people get around to it themselves. By the time you do, a bad guy could have your money.

The IRS has a solution. It’s called an identity protection pin (IP pin). It’s a unique 6-digit number that will confirm your identity.

The IRS is in the process of sending those to confirmed victims of identity theft. But anyone can ask for one before they file their taxes.

“Typically, a normal client doesn’t bother to get an [IP-pin] number unless they have had some kind of fraud perpetrated on them,” said Charles Massie, a CPA in Southwest Florida. “But in the case that they have typically, the IRS will supply them with this number.”

Massie added it’s not a bad idea for those using various software and filing on their own to get an IP pin. It’s fairly easy to apply for one online. You can use it when you file, or you can give it to your tax preparer when he or she files your taxes.

The pin is only good for one year. The IRS will continue to send an IP pin yearly to people who used them in the past.

Visit the IRS website for a good explanation of why you might need one as well as instructions to apply online.

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Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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