With tax season now underway, so are a plethora of tax-related scams. That’s why area residents are being asked to exercise vigilance this tax season against potential scams.
Consumers should be cautious and protect their personal information when preparing and filing tax documents. Sensitive information like Social Security numbers, finances, birthdays and addresses are some of the many things scammers could easily use to their advantage, according to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Residents can reduce the risk of fraud by filing their return well before the tax deadline, according to Morrisey’s office. This gives thieves less time to file a false return since IRS records would show a return in the consumer’s name has already been filed. Tax filers also should use a secure Internet connection and never file their return via publicly available wi-fi.
The attorney general’s office also recommends the following safeguards:
• Never carry a Social Security card, banking information or any other personally identifiable information in a wallet. Keep such documents in a secure location.
• Cross shred documents. Identity thieves rummage through trash to find information.
• Be wary of suspicious emails that look legitimate, however are meant to steal personal information.
• Know the Internal Revenue Service does not contact taxpayers via text message, email or social media.
Sadly such IRS tax scams are common during tax season. Area residents are urged to be vigilant.
Anyone who receives a letter from the IRS indicating potential impersonation should immediately call the agency’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
Consumers who believe they may be the victim of tax-related identity theft should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-368-8808.