Tax tip: File early to avoid identity theft
COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs urges consumers to file their taxes as early as possible. Scammers use consumer information to file tax returns and steal refunds before the individual files.
The tips to avoid tax-time headaches:
- Watch out for scams. Scammers try to solicit personal information via e-mail, text message and phone calls. The fraudster may pose as someone from the IRS to trick you into disclosing personal information. Report IRS imposter scams to the Treasury Department.
- Use a secure Internet connection when filing electronically. Also, choose a tax preparation software because the company is reputable, not because the filing service is free or cheap.
- Mail paper returns directly from the post office.
- Respond to all mail from the IRS as soon as possible.
- Research a tax preparer thoroughly before handing over personal information.
- Shred tax return copies, drafts or calculation sheets when no longer needed.
Victims of tax identity theft may receive a letter from the IRS regarding unreported income or a notice that a tax return has already been filed in their name.
Consumers who believe they are the victim of a security breach, scam or identity theft are encouraged to seek tailored guidance from SCDCA’s Identity Theft Unit.
Call 844-TELL DCA (835-5322) or fill out an ID Theft Intake form by clicking on Report Identity Theft at www.consumer.sc.gov.