9 ways to protect yourself from fraud this tax season

As a brand new tax season gets underway, some folks are anxious to file their returns so they can collect a refund.


But before you rush to complete your 2022 taxes, take note: If you plan to seek help in preparing and filing, the Internal Revenue Service wants to remind you that tax-related fraud is real.

READ: IRS announces Jan. 23 start date for tax filing season

The IRS said that each year, phishing scams and unscrupulous tax preparers take advantage of people and their personal information.

“Vetting your tax return preparer’s credentials should be top priority this time of year since you have the ultimate responsibility of the accuracy of what is put on your tax return,” IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Ronald A. Loecker said.

IRS warns public of bad tax preparers
IRS warns public of bad tax preparers

The IRS has a lot of advice to help you protect you — and your money — from others who might have bad intentions.

READ: Have you seen them? These 113 people are missing from Central Florida

Here are 9 tips from the IRS to avoid tax season fraud:

  1. Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round.

  2. Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers are required to have one.

  3. Don’t use a ghost preparer. They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.

  4. Don’t fall victim to tax preparers’ promises of large refunds. Taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.

  5. Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns filed with the IRS.

  6. Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not your tax preparer’s account.

  7. The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up.

  8. Don’t respond to text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may contain malware that could compromise your personal information.

  9. Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages about your tax return. These messages are fraudulent. Also, never provide personal or financial information in response to such inquiries.

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