Tax season is here, and scammers and thieves are already gearing up to steal your information and, if possible, your tax refund. They have plenty of tricks to throw at you, and they're going try to hit you with as many as they can.
We've already talked about how they try to steal your tax refund and how to prevent that (sponsor content), but there are other ways they'll try to steal other information from you. Fortunately, if you know scammers are after you and you know their tricks, you can take steps to keep them from succeeding. Today, we're going to look at how you can protect your privacy this tax season.
When you're done reading this, click over to our other tax-related tips to learn how to file for free online and some simple business deductions you might not be taking.
1. Beware fake IRS emails (and phone calls)
Scammers know that people fear the IRS. After all, this is the organization that can audit you, tack on extra fees, seize your property, send you to jail and do much more to make your life miserable.
Knowing this, scammers will send you email or call claiming something is wrong and if you don't fix it RIGHT NOW, bad things will happen. Typically, the "fix" involves giving up personal information, financial information or wiring the "IRS" money.
There's also a reverse of this scam where the fake IRS agent says there's a problem getting you your refund, and he or she needs to confirm your financial information. However, the same basic tactics apply.
The scammers involved will use realistic-looking or -sounding IRS badge numbers, have the last four digits of your Social Security number, make it look like they're calling from the IRS on caller ID and more to convince you.