One very common form of tax fraud involves the scam artist stealing your social security number and filing a false return in your name in order to get your tax refund.
The Federal Trade Commission is urging people to file their tax returns as early as possible “to get ahead of scammers” who may try to steal social security numbers and use them to get a fraudulent refund.
Likewise, the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection is advising consumers about a tax scam that has resulted in an “explosion of complaints about callers who claim to be IRS agents – but are not.” These IRS impersonation scams count on people’s lack of knowledge about how the IRS contacts taxpayers. The IRS never calls a taxpayer about unpaid taxes or penalties; the initial contact is made by a mailed letter. If you get a call purporting to be from the IRS telling you to send money for unpaid taxes, hang up and report the scam to the FTC and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.tigta.gov.