On Your Side: Protecting against tax fraud

The IRS begins accepting tax returns Monday. (WSYX / WTTE)

Million of Americans are facing an added hazard this tax season after the massive Equifax data breach in 2017 that affected 145 million people.

The IRS is warning about a possible new surge of tax scams and bogus filling aimed at stealing refunds

Filing your return early is the best way to beat scammer as well as to prevent fraud. The IRS begins accepting returns Monday, January 29th.

Tax expert Adam Levin told ABC News credit freezes or monitoring aren't enough to top tax-related identify theft.

"If they have name and date of birth and social security number, they're off to the races because they can create a fake w2 form" Levin said.

New this tax season, the IRS has created a verification code box on all official W-2 forms, which is meant to help with authentication.

Your employe will generate your code.

Notify the IRS if you believe your information has been compromised.

Also, at-risk tax filers should follow their filing status on the IRS' website.

Remember the IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers through emails, text messages, or social media.

The IRS also says it doesn't do the following:

Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.

Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.

Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

In most cases, the IRS begins contacting taxpayers through mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

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