Preventing a tax scam

FRESNO, Calif.

Taxpayers may not realize it, but tax season is also the time of the year when many scam artists are out on the prowl for your personal information. In response to the increasing concern with identity theft the IRS has launched a new webpage that assists taxpayers in choosing a tax preparer, but certified public accountant Terry Stone says the most common form of scams come via your inbox.

Stone said, "The IRS does not send emails to anybody, but we see a lot of emails to individuals who may want to respond because they are concerned about having a problem with the IRS."

Fraudulent tax preparers are among those sending out emails in hopes that someone takes the bait.

So when you are getting ready to look for someone to prepare your taxes make sure that the individual is an enrolled agent, CPA, or tax attorney, and get a written estimate before agreeing to use their services. Another red flag is promises of a big return.

Joey Fernandez with the Better Business Bureau said, "I think people don't want to be paranoid or ask too many questions, but ultimately you are protecting yourself by protecting your identity."

Another simple but important tip the IRS is giving the public is to remember to make sure that your tax preparer signs the bottom of the documents and includes their IRS tax preparer identification number.

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