GREENFIELD — Tax season is also scam season, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.
And scammers looking to defraud consumers are out in full force preying on well-intentioned taxpayers.
Here are three things you should know to protect yourself as you file taxes this year.
1. If the phone rings, it’s not the IRS
Calling by phone and claiming to be the IRS is one of the most common scams the attorney general’s office has seen in recent months. Scammers demand immediate payment of past-due taxes and might go so far as to threaten arrest and jail time if payment is not received immediately. Typically, they request payment be made through prepaid cards.
The IRS will never initiate contact through the phone, Zoeller said. It will always reach out through official mail correspondence.
Consumers who receive phone calls from someone claiming to be the IRS should hang up immediately.
2. Requests for info won’t hit your inbox
Another threat during tax season is tax identity theft. Scammers use a taxpayer’s information to file a tax return. That information is typically gained after scammers send out emails that claim to be from the IRS, requesting personal or financial information.
If consumers receive emails similar to this, they should not respond and forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Filing early is best defense
Zoeller said the best protection against tax-related scams is to file taxes as early as possible to get ahead of scammers.
If you are targeted by one of these scams, you should report it to the attorney general’s office. Consumers can file a complaint by visiting indianaconsumer.com or calling 1-800-382-5516.