How protect yourself from scammers after your tax return, social security number

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Sunday, April 16, 2023
How protect yourself from scammers after your tax return
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The Better Business Bureau is warning people about scammers who are after your social security number and tax return ahead of the 2023 tax deadline.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Your taxes are due on Tuesday, and scammers are zeroing in on consumers.

The Better Business Bureau is warning people about tax season scams. Scammers can try to steal your identity by filing taxes with your social security number, and they could collect your tax return.

Here are some tips to avoid tax season scams:

  • Always research a new tax preparer online before you do business with them.
  • Ask tax preparers what security steps they will take to protect your data.
  • Only allow funds to be deposited into your personal accounts. Some so called "ghost" tax preparers will have funds deposited into their own accounts "to be later distributed."
  • Check out websites carefully, and make sure you click on the real IRS website when filing your taxes electronically or inquiring for additional information.
  • When in doubt, contact the IRS directly to verify any contact, not a number in an email or text.
  • The IRS will never threaten you or demand immediate payment, require a specific form of payment, or ask for credit card or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Be wary of a tax preparer offering fast refunds or large returns. What you owe is solely based on your past year's tax information and the current tax laws.
  • Review your tax return before it's submitted to ensure it was signed properly by your tax preparer.
  • Be wary of spectacular promises. Avoid tax preparers who offer "refund anticipation loans," as you'll probably lose a large percentage of your return to commission fees.
  • Think about availability. If the IRS finds errors in your tax forms or decides to perform an audit, will your tax preparer be available to help you with the details? Find out whether you can contact the tax preparer all year long or only during tax season.
  • Contact the IRS immediately if you get: a written notice from the IRS about a duplicate tax return, a notice stating that you received wages from a company that you never worked for, or any notice that "additional taxes are owed, the refund will be offset, or a collection action is being taken against you."
  • Protect your social security number. Do not give out your SSN unless you are 100% sure you are dealing with someone you trust.

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