Florida Attorney General Issues Tips to Help Floridians Avoid Tax Identity Theft Scams

On February 3, 2020, Florida Attorney General Ashely Moody issued a video consumer alert warning taxpayers to "Watch Out for Tax Identity Theft Scams" and providing tips for Floridians to help them avoid becoming victims of scammers.1

Significantly, the Attorney General noted that a common ploy involves the fraudulent filing of a person's tax return so that the scammer can steal the refund. According to the Attorney General, the best way to prevent this from happening is to file taxes as early as possible. The Attorney General emphasized that:

No one likes doing their taxes, but procrastination is the enemy when guarding against refund scams. File early and avoid giving your personal information out to those who would do you harm. Remember, the IRS will never call you and demand immediate payment. If you receive a call like this, just hang up.

The alert highlights the following tips for avoiding tax identity theft scams:

  • File tax returns as early as possible;
  • Remember the IRS will only contact you via mail;
  • Know that the IRS will allow taxpayers to dispute and appeal amounts at issue-the IRS does not demand immediate payment without first permitting taxpayers with the chance to substantiate the amount owed;
  • Disconnect immediately if you receive a phone call asking for personal information or requests payment. You can verify a caller's legitimate business or legal authority by locating the entity's number on its official website;
  • Always protect your personal information (such as SSNs)
  • Only provide your personal information if it is absolutely necessary for a recipient that is well known;
  • Only use a secure internet connection if filing your return online-otherwise, mail the return from the post office; and
  • Don't release your personal information to a tax preparer until you have thoroughly vetted them.

Finally, the Attorney General directed taxpayers to report fraudulent activity to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by going online and filing a complaint at TIGTA.gov or by calling (800)-366-4484.

If you have tax questions or concerns, contact Frost & Associates, LLC today at 410-497-5947

1 Fla. Att'y Gen. Office, Video Consumer Alert: Watch Out for Tax Identity Theft Scams, 02/03/20.

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