As tax season begins, Attorney General Andy Beshear issued a scam alert to help Kentucky families avoid falling victim to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax-related identity fraud.
The start date for electronic filing of tax year 2016 federal and Kentucky returns began Jan. 23, 2017, and, as a result, reports of tax identity fraud are increasing.
Beshear’s office has received nearly 100 IRS scam reports over the past seven months, and the most recently reported scams were in Boyd, Greenup and Hardin counties.
“The IRS will never call, text or email asking for your personal or financial information,” Beshear said. “If you are contacted by someone claiming to be an IRS agent and requests your Social Security number hang-up and report it to the actual IRS.”
Tax identity fraud occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to file a tax return in your name, before you file in order to steal your refund.
Beshear and his Office of Senior Protection and Mediation recommends these tips from fraud.org to help Kentucky families avoid falling victim to tax-related identity theft.
- File early. Beginning Jan. 23, 2017, the IRS and the state will begin accepting electronic filing of tax returns. By filing early in the tax season, you can reduce your risk of identity theft by submitting your return before scammers. Waiting only gives con artists more time to steal your refund.
- Consider e-file. To help file quickly, consumers may qualify for the state and IRS’s Free File programs, which allows the use of free, name-brand tax filing software. For more information on the IRS Free File program, click here and for information on the state program, click here.
- Monitor your refund. Review the status of your refund by visiting the IRS’s Where’s My Refund? website or take advantage of the IRS2Go smartphone app. Remember, by law, the IRS must hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit until Feb. 15. The first day the Kentucky Department of Revenue will issue refunds is also Feb. 15; click here to visit the state refund site.
Victims of tax fraud may receive a mailed letter from the IRS or the victim may discover the fraud when they attempt to file their return.
Victims need to act quickly and follow these recommended steps:
- Contact the IRS. To contact the IRS directly call, 800.908.4490. Contact the Kentucky Department of Revenue at 502.564.4581.
- Follow the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Kit. Learn how to obtain an incident report of identity theft from your local law enforcement agency, place an immediate and free fraud alert on your credit file, order and review your credit reports, and create a comprehensive recovery action plan.
For additional information, visit the Office of the Attorney General’s website at ag.ky.gov; the IRS site, www.irs.gov/identitytheft; and Kentucky Department of Revenue at http://revenue.ky.gov/.
One of the critical missions of the Office of the Attorney General is to help Kentucky families and seniors recognize and avoid scams.