February 3rd-7th is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. As you prepare for tax season, beware government imposters and identity thieves who are out for your money.
Tax identity theft is when someone files a tax return in your name, seeking a large refund for themselves. Then, when you try to file taxes, the IRS flags it as a duplicate filing. It may take some time for the IRS to investigate, delaying your filing and return. If this happens to you, it is important to check your credit report to see if the identity thief has misused your identity in other ways.
The FTC is providing several webinars and information sessions to help raise awareness about tax identity theft. Here, you can see their events and how to access them.
You should also be on the lookout for IRS imposter scams. There are many scammers who will call you on the phone, claiming you have failed to pay back taxes. They will demand you pay right away, usually with a gift card. But, the IRS is not going to call you on the phone. They communicate by mail. So, if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent, just hang up.