DE PERE, Wis. — It's tax season and scammers are relentless. Many consumers have received countless phone calls from scammers claiming to be the IRS.
Jill Schoenwalder, at Tax Management services in De Pere, says she hears about scam attempts all the time and typically sees a couple clients a year fall victim. She does her best to warn her clients on what to do when they find themselves in this situation.
She recommends filing taxes as early as possible because once your tax return is filed, someone else can't file for you, which also helps protect your social security number. She encourages you to file with your dependents, so their Social Security numbers are protected as well.
Schoenwalder also says to make sure not to email something with your Social Security number on it. If you do, then make sure it's encrypted and use a strong password, so it won't be hacked.
"Don't ever respond to a phone call from the IRS,” Schoenwalder says. “Don't ever respond to an email from the IRS. It is guaranteed to be a scam."
Schoenwalder says scammers typically use fear tactics to scare you into giving them the information they want, but the best thing to do is ignore them and report it. She also suggests filing electronically, so you don't run the risk of having mail with your personal information on it intercepted.
Schoenwalder says the process of recovering from a tax scam takes a long time and it's inconvenient, so it's important to take these preventative measures now to avoid becoming a victim.