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How to avoid IRS scams during tax season

How to avoid IRS scams during tax season
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

It's tax season and the stress is high. Filing your taxes is stressful on its own, but these days you also have to worry about cybercriminals trying to steal your money. Those criminals are counting on you being stressed out and confused by all the tax forms coming in the mail and the flood of information the IRS requests from you.

The IRS reports that from January through November last year, it blocked $8 billion in fraudulent tax returns, including when someone uses your ID to claim your tax refund. That doesn't even include other crimes.

At its recent Security Summit, the IRS urged professional tax preparers, and the estimated 120 million people filing electronic returns this year, to ramp up their Internet security efforts, and other security practices. The IRS launched an awareness campaign to "better inform you about the need to protect your personal, tax, and financial data online and at home."

According to the IRS, "People continue to fall prey to clever cybercriminals." These criminals trick you into giving them your Social Security numbers, financial account information and passwords.

Cybercriminals use several methods to steal your information. On the next page, we'll list three ways that cybercriminals steal your identity. But, don't worry, keep reading for three tips to protect yourself this tax season.

Next page: 3 ways cybercrimals steal your ID
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