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March is Tax Time and Speak Out Month!

Happy March and here’s hoping spring is just around the corner! Terri Worman here…your frauds and scams blogger at “Oh NO You Don’t!”  Welcome back – this time around “Tax Identity Fraud” and “Speaking Out!”  

For many of us tax season is not exactly our favorite time of year. There's a lot of paperwork, calculations, and finding those pesky receipts we were sure we had filed away. For some of us the hard work “pays” off, but be aware, criminals are out there looking to “cash-in” by filing for a tax refund using our personal information before we do.

Criminals scour wherever and however they can to get your personal information, including all those documents you threw away instead of shredding! Once they have your info, they can file a fraudulent tax return using your Social Security number, claim your children as dependents, or claim a tax refund using a deceased taxpayer’s information. You only find out after you file your taxes and get a letter from the IRS telling you about the first filing and refund.

What do we do? To prevent scammers from finding your tax information in the first place, only file your returns on a secure and encrypted network or mail your returns at a post office. Blog message of the day: Do NOT respond to emails that come from “the IRS.” I don’t care how official the email looks; do not open it or the attachment! The IRS does not send unsolicited emails about your tax account or personal and financial information. Some determined criminal is just hoping you will bite and hand over your information…because hey, who wants to get on the bad side of the IRS by not responding!

If you do become a victim of tax identity fraud, be sure to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 and complete Form 14039 and also get an Identity Protection (IP) PIN from the IRS so they can verify your identity going forward.

Now to the “Speaking Out”AARP’s Fraud Watch Network just launched its new “Check Out What’s Happening in Your State” portion of the website. You can find out what States’ Attorneys and other law enforcement officials are reporting on just by clicking on your state on the new map. More importantly, you can find out about frauds and scams others just like yourself have reported to us in your state.

Always wanted to tell SOMEONE about the frauds and scams you hear about in hopes it can help others not become victims of the scam? Go to the AARP Fraud Watch Network and click on the big red button “Spot a scam? Tell us about it” and AARP will add your information to your state on the map! Join us as a Fraud Fighter and help us fight these criminals!

Get those taxes in soon! Until next next…be well, be safe, and just say “Oh NO You Don’t!”

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