February 10, 2020
The following information is provided by BBB:
The United States' tax season is here, and so are the scammers. Con artists are using the Social Security numbers of unsuspecting Americans to file phony tax returns and steal their refunds. In honor of the Federal Trade Commission’s Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, be on the lookout for this and other tax season scams.
How the Scam Works
You file your taxes as normal and expect a refund from the IRS. Instead, you get a written IRS notice saying that more than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number.
What happened? Scammers got ahold of your personal information, such as your Social Security number, address, and birth date. They filed your return early and received your refund before you even got around to filing. Tax ID theft is a particularly sneaky con because victims typically don’t realize they’ve been targeted until they try to file their taxes for real.
Scammers steal your tax information in several ways. You may have fallen for a phishing scam at an earlier time, used a corrupt tax preparation service, or had your information exposed in a hack or data breach. Sometimes tax scammers file in the name of a deceased person or steal children’s identities to claim them as dependents.
How to Avoid Tax ID Theft Scams:
For More Information
For more information about tax scams check out our BBB Tip on Tax Scams.
If you are the victim of tax identity theft in the U.S., contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490. You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. The FTC also offers a personalized identity theft recovery plan at identitytheft.gov.
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