W-2 form stolen from man in St. Francis and his taxes filed; experts warn of scams

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ST. FRANCIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- With tax season here, experts are warning you to look out for scammers.

According to St. Francis police, a man reported someone fraudulently filed his taxes without his permission, likely stealing his refund. He found his W2 open in the mail, and when he went to file it, found out someone else beat him to it.

Those at the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin say such scams are becoming more common. “Everybody knows W2’s, all that stuff are mailed out usually by the end of January. Scammers know that too.” said Jim Temmer, president & CEO of Wisconsin BBB. 

For most victims, it’s an unexpected blow when it happens.

“You gonna go fill out your tax return, you get it in there and you get a notification from the IRS that somebody already applied under your social security number and they took your refund,” added Temmer.

But it’s not the only way con-artists are targeting innocent tax payers.

Arthur Lee, certified public accountant and founder of Alliance Tax & Accounting Servicesays there are several others. One scam uses robocalls claiming law enforcement will cancel your social security number. Another scam sends letters from the Bureau of Tax Enforcement, but that doesn't exist. A different scam involves fake IRS emails. “First of all, the IRS does not send out unsolicited emails,” Lee said. “In general, the IRS does not email much at all, so be very wary of those.”

Finally, if you’re having your taxes prepared, make sure it’s not by a fraudster posing as a professional offering a deal.

“To do a tax return you don’t need a license, unfortunately. So you have to be very careful,” Lee said.

To avoid becoming a victim, you should file early, protect your social security number, and consider getting an identity protection pin from the IRS. For more helpful tips, CLICK HERE.

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