Tax return scams – SCAM OF THE MONTH

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Jonathan was going through his mail when he found a letter from the government. He opened it and was surprised when he read that more than one tax return was filed using his social security number. Though he had filed his tax return later in the season, he was sure he did not file twice.

Jonathan also received a notice stating that he received wages from somewhere he had never worked. He thought these notices were strange, but he figured they must have just been a mistake. Jonathan decided to ignore them and move on with his day.

What Jonathan didn’t realize was that his personal information had been leaked in a data breach a few months prior, and a scammer had purchased his information on the Dark Web. This included his social security number, address, birth date, and more. Since the scammer filed first, they were able to steal any refunds that Jonathan would have received.


Did you spot the red flags?

  • Receiving a written notice that states more than one tax return has been filed is a red flag.
  • Instead of calling to ask about the notices he received, Jonathan ignored them.
  • Jonathan did not file his tax returns early, which gave scammers more time to file before him and take any money he would have received.


What you should know about this scam

File taxes early. This will limit the time that a scammer can use your information. If you do receive any unusual notices, respond right away.

In some countries, you can use an Identity Protection PIN. This is an additional verification number that must be entered before filing tax returns. See what additional security options are available in your area.

There are many different tax related scams that are carried out during tax season. Treat unsolicited text messages, emails, or threatening phone calls from tax service organizations with caution.