Borders: Be aware of tax season scams

Posted by: Wade Coggeshall  | Monday, April 12, 2021

STATEHOUSE (April 12, 2021) — As taxpayers file their 2020 tax returns, State Rep. Bruce Borders (R-Jasonville) urges Hoosiers to look out for identity thieves and scammers.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the challenges that COVID-19 brought include a higher risk of identity theft, with 89,390 reports of tax identity theft in 2020, compared with 27,450 reports in 2019. Last year alone, the FTC received more than 2.2 million reports about fraud, with people reporting losses of nearly $3.3 billion.

"To protect yourself from identity theft, it's crucial to know how scammers work to get your information," Borders said. "Be cautious if there's a request for personal information over the phone or through email, and if you're concerned about its legitimacy, just hang up or delete." 

The Internal Revenue Service reports scammers use mail, telephone or email to deceive individuals, businesses, and payroll and tax professionals. According to the IRS, the bureau does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. The IRS is reminding the public to avoid scams, including unethical ghost tax return preparers who do not sign tax returns they prepare, emails or text messages asking for personal and financial information, and imposters who call taxpayers claiming to be IRS employees using fake names and identification badge numbers.

To avoid falling victim to tax-related scams and identity theft, Borders said to follow these tips provided by the FTC:

  • Protect Social Security Numbers throughout the year. Do not give it out unless there is a good reason and you are sure of who you are giving it to;
  • File tax returns as early in the tax season as possible;
  • Use a secure internet connection if filing electronically or mail tax returns directly from the post office;
  • Research a tax preparer thoroughly before handing over personal information;
  • Check credit reports at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com. Make sure no one has opened a new account in your name;
  • Do not give out sensitive information over the phone. When in doubt, hang up; and
  • Never click on or forward links in unsolicited text or email messages.

Borders said those who believe they are a victim of a scam need to contact local law enforcement immediately. Scams should be reported to the Indiana Attorney General’s office by visiting indianaconsumer.com, and complaints should be filed with Federal Trade commission at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

The federal tax filing deadline this year is May 17. To find a reputable preparer, visit IRS.gov.

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State Rep. Bruce Borders (R-Jasonville) represents House District 45, which includes
all of Sullivan County and portions of Vigo, Greene, Knox and Daviess counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.