If you're like most of us, you may be working on filing your taxes -- or at least thinking about it in the coming months.
It's a tough enough challenge without also having to worry about scammers who are extremely active right now trying to get their hands on your money.
In particular, there are three main scam tricks to be on the lookout for:
- Identity theft. Someone else claims your refund. You may not know until you file your own return. If this happens to you, call the IRS support line on 1-800-829-1040
- Unscrupulous tax preparers. They may try to encourage you to cheat on your filing, they may overcharge or they may keep part of your refund. Check the credentials of a new preparer and ask for testimonials or references before hiring them.
- Impostor scams. You get a call or email from someone claiming to be from the IRS asking for personal financial information, immediate payment or to click on certain Internet links. The IRS doesn’t do any of this, so ignore them.
Note also that the IRS doesn’t ask people to pay their taxes with gift cards or debit cards. Nor do they call you and threaten to throw you in jail! If any of this happens to you, it's a scam.
For more on current tax scams, see this
guidance from the IRS.