WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Now that we’re well into tax season, many Americans are looking forward to their refunds. But thieves are coming up with newer and more creative ways to get their hands on your money first. Tax preparers say it can happen to anyone, and they see more victims of tax fraud every year.
“You do your best to protect your information, you follow all the steps, you have firewalls, anti virus protection. You find out about it when it happens. You just can’t be safe enough,” said Ray Maagero from Liberty Tax in West Springfield.
First off, don’t procrastinate. The faster you file, the less opportunity thieves have to steal your information. Don’t carry around sensitive documents in your purse, wallet, or car. Leave your social security card at home, and never share it over the phone.
You should never give out your social security number unless you’ve initiated the transaction. Tax experts understand how people unfortunately might be intimidated and make mistakes, but the IRS simply will never call you asking for that information.
“Most people have tremendous respect for the IRS. If someone is purporting to be the IRS and they’re pretty demanding. Don’t panic. Don’t give any of your information over the phone ever,” Maagero said
If you think your personal information may have been compromised, look for paper correspondence from the IRS. Even fake documents can look real though, so it’s a good idea to verify with a tax professional. If you are a victim of tax fraud, you’ll have to paper file your return.. and also produce an affidavit to the IRS to get a pin that proves you’re you.