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Refund fraud

Inspection Service warns of tax scams

Identity thieves can use stolen identities to file phony electronic tax returns and claim the resulting refunds as their own.

The Postal Inspection Service wants to help people avoid becoming victims of fraud this tax season.

In a new public service announcement available on the agency’s YouTube channel, the Inspection Service encourages customers to be aware of identity thieves using stolen names and Social Security numbers to file phony electronic tax returns. The scammers then claim resulting refunds as their own.

If you suspect you’re a victim of tax return fraud, quickly alert your financial institution and the three credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. They’ll be able to stop thieves from opening new accounts in your name.

One way to monitor your personal information and prevent thieves from using your information to commit fraud is to request a free copy of your annual credit report and verify that your information is correct.

The website has details, while the Postal Inspection Service website has information on tax-related and other scams.