Be wary of potential scams as tax deadline approaches - WSMV News 4

Be wary of potential scams as tax deadline approaches

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With the deadline to file income taxes quickly approaching, there's a lot more to worry about besides just getting receipts in order.

Last year, about two million people discovered someone else used their name and Social Security number to file a tax return.

"When you get that notice from the IRS that your tax return has been rejected, and then you're denied a refund you're expecting for your family, this is devastating," said Kathleen Calligan, with the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee.

Calligan said a big reason why this is happening is from posting revealing personal details online.

"When you were first excited about Facebook, what did you do? You put your birthday. You put your hometown. You put everything about you. And then it is real easy for someone to match up your Social Security number," Calligan said.

The typical identity theft victim is a 30-something female who uses social networking sites.

The Internal Revenue Service has a department specially devoted to reports of identity theft and other scams. Remember, the IRS will never send direct emails or phone calls.

And experts say there are certain signs that could signal something isn't right, including tax preparers who promise larger refunds or base fees on a percentage of a refund.

Consumer advocates also say no matter who the preparer is, you are responsible for that information on the return.

Finally, if you can't make the April 15 deadline, contact the IRS now for an extension on the paperwork, but not the payment.

"The worst thing you can do is use the logic, 'Well, I can't pay everything right now, so I'll just wait until I get the money together and then I'll file,'" said Dan Boone, with the IRS.

But even a partial payment on a credit card will hold off steep penalties.

There is free tax-preparing advice many people can access. If you brought in less than $58,000 to your household last year or you are a senior citizen, just dial 211 to find out where to go get that free help.

For more information and resources on filing taxes, visit:

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