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Experts say beware of scams this tax season

According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losing nearly $6 billion to fraud in 2021, a 70 percent increase from 2020.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Tax season is underway which means there are several scams targeting taxpayers. Experts say the most common during this season is identity theft and most people usually notice after the Internal Revenue Service rejects their return.

"Your tax return has already been filed, this usually happens from an Identity thief or someone who has access," said Mark Steber, the Senior Vice President of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. "It's people who have access to your information to try to get a free refund."

When this occurs, it may take several months or even years to receive your refund.

Data from the Federal Trade Commission said in 2020, consumers reported more than $2.3 billion of losses due to imposter scams.  Identity theft was one of the most common type of scams.

Experts say reports of fraud may increase this year as families are likely to receive more benefits. They can get up to $3,600 per child in Child Tax Credits, up to $8,000 for two children in Dependent Care Credits and at least $6,000 for the Earned Income Credit.

"So there are lots of dollars on the table, not to mentioned, the stimulus payment. So if you're an identity thief or a data thief, the payment has never been richer," said Steber.

Experts say other scams to look out for include phishing emails. This is when hackers use fake emails, text messages or websites to steal your information. Be on guard for fake phone calls from someone who appears to be an IRS agent. These are often unexpected and can be aggressive.

"Be very vigilant and if it sounds too good to be try it probably is," Steber added.

Steber urges taxpayers to file early to secure your information with the IRS. The deadline to file is April 18th.

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