We are all sitting down looking at our taxes, and starting to hope we get a big return.

Some of us try to figure out our own taxes, some of us let a company do it. No matter how we do it, there are scammers that are trying to pull something on you or the government.

IRS reported that for the fiscal year of 2016 it launched 1117 general fraud investigations,1202 for 2015 and 1358 for 2014. So you can see by them cracking down and getting better methods to investigate.

NBC News has come up with a few ways to avoid fraud and being taken by scammers by the IRS.

  • File your taxes early. When you file early you get the paperwork (or e-file) in ahead of someone who might file as you. You have until April 17, but most ID theft happens faster than you think.
  • Clear your email and invest in a shredder. The shredder makes it possible to chop up anything you may have to put in the recycling or your garbage. All the scammers need is your full legal name, date of birth, and social security number.
  • The IRS will never call you. They will send you a letter. I actually know this as a fact. I got a letter asking for more information and they gave me the name of a contact and an address. If you get a phone call from the IRS you should ask for their direct number. Then call the authorities in the federal building downtown Duluth or in Superior.
  • If your bank or credit card calls you, tell them you will call them back. Then call the 800 number on the back of your card.

Never sign a Blank Return. Not that you would, but these scammers are smart and sometimes they have a reason that makes sense to have you sign. If you have any questions you should contact the IRS directly.

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