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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says these kinds of thefts have increased substantially in the last few years. Between 2010 and 2012, the number of investigations opened by the IRS grew from 224 to 898, according to the latest figures.
Find out more about tax refund scams, how to protect yourself from identity theft and what to do if you are a victim.
Tax refund thefts usually begin when someone steals your personal information, such as your Social Security number. This is called identity theft.
To get your information, scammers use a technique called phishing, where a scammer tries to fool you into revealing your personal data.
This is how it works:
Once they have the information they need, they file your taxes in your name and wait until they get your refund.
This is what you can do to protect yourself from this scam:
Many taxpayers find out they’ve are victims of tax refund scams when they get a letter from the IRS saying their taxes have been filed twice. If you get such a letter, contact the IRS immediately to try to correct the situation.
You can find out the status of your tax return by visiting the official IRS website. You will be asked to provide personal information such as your Social Security number and the amount of your expected tax return.
If you would like assistance or would like to report identity theft, contact the IRS or call 1-800-908-4490.