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Hancock: Be wary of I.D. theft during tax season

With another season comes another scam.

During this time of year, it’s tax-related identity theft. That’s when someone uses another’s social security number to file a fraudulent tax return.

This week is National Tax Identity Theft Week, and Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock says people can take steps to prevent tax-related identiy theft.

“Tax season has begun and I want to remind citizens to remain vigilant in order to avoid tax identity theft and IRS imposter scams.,” Hancock said, adding that the following tips can help reduce the risk of identity theft while preparing their tax returns:

Use strong passwords and change passwords on online accounts regularly.

Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies and even the IRS.

Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.

Protect your personal information and that of any dependents. Don’t routinely carry Social Security cards, and make sure your tax records are secure.

Review your credit report for any suspicious activity.

Shred  old and  unwanted documents.

The Internal Revenue Service suggests that taxpayers be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if you are contacted by the IRS about:

More than one tax return was filed for you,

You owe additional tax, have a refund offset, or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return, or

IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.

The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, text, or any social media. Never open any attachments or click on any links in e-mails purportedly from the IRS.