IRS warns of scammers, identity theft ahead of looming tax deadl - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

IRS warns of scammers, identity theft ahead of looming tax deadline

The deadline to file taxes is April 15 The deadline to file taxes is April 15
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

As the deadline to file taxes quickly approaches with only one week left, the Internal Revenue Services is warning taxpayers about scammers and tax fraud.

The IRS cites phone scams as one of the most serious threats for the 2015 filing season. For example, if someone claiming to be from the IRS calls unexpectedly with aggressive threats, it's probably a scam artist calling. Scammers are able to alter caller ID numbers that appear to be from the IRS and then try to scare and shock taxpayers into providing personal financial information on the spot when they're off guard. However, the first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail.

The following are five things the IRS will never do:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Taxpayers should also be aware of identity theft as they file their taxes. This usually occurs when someone uses someone else's social security number to file a tax return, claiming a fraudulent refund. In an effort to protect these victims, the IRS has issued approximately 1.5 million identity protection PINs -- unique, six-digit numbers assigned to avoid delays in filing returns and receiving refunds.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft:

  • Don't carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • Don't give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
  • Protect your financial information.
  • Check your credit report every 12 months.
  • Review your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually.
  • Secure personal information in your home.
  • Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.
  • Don't give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.

Those who believe they were a victim of theft should call authorities immediately.

To learn more about identity theft, click here.

To learn more on how to protect yourself from identity theft, click here.

The deadline to file taxes is April 15.

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