By Guest Contributor

As a new tax season begins, keep in mind scammers will be revving up their efforts to steal YOUR money. The scams come in different forms: phishing emails, harassing phone calls, and tax return identity theft. Here are some steps to help keep your identity and money safe:

  • File taxes early to avoid scammers.
  • Be cautious about tax-related emails. Do not use links within the email. Instead, go to the IRS website for relevant information.
  • Hang up on IRS impersonator phone calls.
  • Report suspicious emails or phone calls ASAP.
  • Shred bank and tax documents before throwing them away.
  • Update your security software.

The IRS offers an option called Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) that assigns a unique six-digit code to eligible taxpayers that helps limit fraudulent tax returns. For more information visit

Here are some reminders about the IRS. They will NEVER:

  • call about past taxes without having mailed several notices first
  • call to demand payment with threats to involve law enforcement and have you arrested
  • call or email asking you to divulge personal and/or financial information
  • require payment without allowing you to appeal or even question the amount due
  • require you to use a specific payment method like a pre-paid debit card
  • ask for your credit/debit card and/or bank information over the phone

If you receive any IRS-related scam communication, please report to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at and to the IRS at

Sources: Internal Revenue Service