Identity thieves never stop trying to make a buck off your personal information, and tax season provides them with a prime opportunity to scam consumers.
As the tax filing deadline approaches, I encourage Nebraska taxpayers to be wary of suspicious offers or notifications. Falling for IRS-lookalike scams and fraudulent tax-return schemes can result in damaged tax records and identity theft.
Phishing is a method scam artists use to acquire personal and financial information about their victims through unsolicited emails and phone calls. During tax season, scammers may pose as the IRS to con unsuspecting taxpayers.
The emails look official and lure taxpayers with the prospect of refund. If you receive an unsolicited email that claims to be from the IRS, donít be fooled. The IRS does not initiate contact by email or text message.
Report suspicious emails by forwarding them to email@example.com.
Scam artists may use your identity to file a tax return and claim any refund you have coming.
If you receive notice from the IRS informing you multiple tax returns were filed in your name, you may be a victim of identity theft. Another red-flag for identity theft is notification of wages received from an unknown employer.
If you receive notices like these from the IRS, respond immediately. Your Social Security number may have been stolen and used fraudulently.
Donít wait to take action if you suspect your personal and financial information has been stolen. If you suspect your identity has been compromised, here are a few tips:
ē File a report with the police and keep a copy of the report.
ē Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
ē Follow up with banks and credit companies in writing.
ē Choose different PINs and passwords for new accounts.
Also, if your tax records have been affected by identity theft, you will need to fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039. For more information on tax-related identity theft, visit www.irs.gov/identitytheft or contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit toll-free at 1-800-908-4490.
For more information on these and other consumer-related scams, contact the Attorney Generalís Office Consumer Hotline at (800) 727-6432 or visit www.ago.ne.gov.