With tax season kicking off on Jan. 31, the Internal Revenue Service has provided some tips on how to prevent from being scammed.
The agency said there are numerous tax-related scams, including persons posing as the IRS over the phone and email refund schemes, that occur every year during tax filing season.
A spokeswoman for the IRS said the agency does not contact taxpayers via email or text message to request personal or financial information.
The IRS also does not ask for personal identification numbers, passwords or confidential access information for credit cards or bank accounts.
Several tips from the agency on how to avoid tax scams or identity theft include:
1. Don’t carry your Social Security card or documents that include your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
2. Don’t give a business your Social Security number just because they ask. Only give it when required.
3. Check your credit report every 12 months.
4. Secure personal information in your home.
5. Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software and update security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.
6. Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact and feel comfortable with the recipient.
7. Be careful when choosing a tax preparer. Although it rarely occurs, some return preparers file false and fraudulent tax returns. Even if someone else prepares your return, you are ultimately responsible for all of the information on the return.