Tips for how to protect your wallet and identity
The IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) reminds U.S. taxpayers to take extra steps to protect their identities and wallets when filing their taxes.
“Taxpayers are really the first line of defense against unscrupulous return preparers and the related scams,” said Joleen Simpson, the Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Boston Field Office. “If taxpayers are aware, they can avoid falling victim to some of the latest tax fraud schemes.”
Forgo fraud this filing season:
- Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round.
- Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers are required to have one.
- Don’t use a ghost preparer. They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.
- Don’t fall victim to tax preparers’ promises of large refunds. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. All taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.
- Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns filed with the IRS.
- Electronically file your tax return if possible. If you must mail your tax return or payments to the IRS, use a physical Post Office location. Using stand-alone mailboxes can make your tax return and payments susceptible to mail theft.
- Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not your tax preparer’s.
- The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up, it’s a scam!
- Don’t respond to or click links in text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may contain malware that could compromise your personal information.
- Protect your personal and financial information. Never provide this information in response to unsolicited text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS.
- Report fraud to law enforcement. Submit Form 3949-A, Information Referral, if you suspect an individual or a business is committing fraud. IRS-CI is the only federal law enforcement agency with the authority to investigate violations of the Internal Revenue Code. In fiscal year 2022, IRS-CI identified $5.7 billion in tax fraud, initiated 1,388 criminal tax investigations and obtained 699 criminal sentences for tax crimes.