Filing taxes can be stressful, and to make it worse there are unscrupulous people who are trying to take your money. Scammers are everywhere, on the phone, online or even in your tax preparer’s office. That is why it is important to know just how and where you are most vulnerable.

Keep in mind these popular tax season scams:

‘Phishing’ (as in fishing for information) is most often done via e-mail when scammers will send out links to fake websites that look legitimate, (such as the IRS website) but are set up for the sole purpose of stealing your personal information. Beware of e-mails from the IRS about refunds or tax bills, and remember the IRS will not contact taxpayers via e-mail regarding such matters.

The ‘arrest scam’ is when individuals receive phone calls from con artists impersonating IRS agents who threaten arrest, deportation or license revocation if a payment isn’t made immediately. Scammers will give fake badge numbers and even alter your caller ID to make it appear to be IRS calling. They will request immediate payment in the form of gift cards or wire transfers, which you should recognize as a big red flag.

‘Identity theft’ is a major issue during tax season. If someone files a fraudulent return with your name and social security number, it can take several months and a lot of paperwork to rectify the problem.

Inflated refunds’ are promised to taxpayers. Be suspicious of tax preparers who promise inflated refunds, especially before even reviewing any tax documents, or if asked to sign a blank return. These dishonest tax preparers also might charge a fee that is based on the percentage of the refund.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, do not delay, speak to an attorney who specializes in elder fraud, and most importantly, call the police.

Be Educated! Be Proactive!