JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - We have a scam alert about Tax Day. More criminals are stealing identities and filing on your behalf - to get a refund check from the government.
The most vulnerable are college students, the elderly and people who've passed away.
Jackson Hewitt has advice for those of you who are filing last-minute and one of them is to warn you about tax fraud and identity theft.
Not only do experts say this year there will be more scams than any year before, one-third of identity theft victims eventually learn a family member was responsible for the crime.
"The IRS doesn't make threats to put people in jail or send them out of the country ," said Tess Dale, a tax preparer at Jackson Hewitt.
Dale said that's what tax payers have to look out for. Scammers will make those false claims by e-mail and phone and many people fall for it. Not only will the IRS not make threats like that, there's also only one way they will contact you: by a letter in the mail.
Dale said whether you filed your taxes months ago, or haven't filed yet, you need to be extra careful with your personal information.
"We remind our clients and anyone else who has already filed, to be highly diligent with your tax and personal information because this year is the highest for IRS scams," said Dale.
Javelin Strategy & Research found that in 2012, there were 12.6 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S. alone, or around one victim every three seconds.
Nearly one-third of identity theft victims later determined that a relative was responsible for the crime.
The IRS and law enforcement are working to combat these types of scams. And if you still need to file, better do it fast. If you're worried about making a mistake, call around to see if tax preparers have availability Monday.
"That's the thing with our tax service, we guarantee the accuracy of our returns and that's one of the other added values. We're better prepared in knowing what's available to the tax payer but also guaranteeing our work for them," said Dale.
Some other scams to look out for around tax season: phishing, which is where a fake website is given out.
Again, remember the IRS will never contact you through e-mail, only by letter.
Also be aware of impersonation of charitable organizations. One way to avoid this is to only donate to recognizable charities.
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