Tax season is right around the corner, and many Americans donít exactly look forward to this time of year. There are receipts to find, papers to collect and at times, money to pay. But in recent years, scammers have come out to target individuals and steal their personal information by threatening them with IRS action or arrest. Itís all a scam. This tax season, consider having a professional service, many found in Utah, prepare this yearís tax return. Here are some ways to avoid a scammer:
Protect personal records
Always keep a Social Security card at home, not in a wallet or purse. Only provide that number when it is absolutely necessary. Many in the older demographic fall victim to IRS scams because they carry all of their personal information documents with them. Online, protect a home computer with an anti-spam/anti-virus software. Routinely change the passwords for all Internet accounts.
Be able to spot scams
Often times, criminals will try and impersonate banks, credit card companies, even the IRS to steal personal data. Learn to recognize and avoid fake emails and texts. Itís important to know that the IRS will not call threatening an individual with a lawsuit, arrest or to demand an immediate tax payment. The normal correspondence will be a letter in the mail. Be aware of threatening phone calls from the IRS.
Get an IP PIN
An IP PIN is a unique six-digit number that is often used when filing a tax return online. This number is used to ensure the safety and protection of individuals who file returns. It is a number that should never be given out freely and only used when prompted by the IRS. Each year, the IRS should send a letter in the mail with a new IP PIN.
File taxes early and know tax filling merchants
Filing taxes sooner than later is a simple way to prevent scammers from filing under the applicantís name. Not to mention, a refund (if there is one) will be received faster! When filing through a third party, ensure that business is an Authorized IRS e-File Provider. If filing through the web, check the web address. If the web address contains https, the site is secure to use.
Report suspicious activity
If there is any indication of an individual or business that is committing tax fraud, it is possible to report it. Visit IRS.gov and follow the instructions on "How to Report Suspected Tax Fraud Activity.