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Protect Your Refund from Tax ID Thieves in 2022

Wed, 01/19/2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The W-2 tax form deadline is January 31, 2022 so scammers know that tax time is around the corner. The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) and the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) are urging consumers to be on guard against tax-time identity theft. Tax fraud was the number one way South Carolina consumers reported their identities being stolen in 2021. 67 consumers reported that when they went to file their taxes in 2021, someone had already used their Social Security number to file. This is the most common form of tax fraud; the tips below will help consumers protect their refund and personal information this tax season:

  • Watch out for IRS and tax imposter scams. Fraudsters often pose as the IRS or, more recently, as the SCDOR to scare and trick you into disclosing personal information or sending them money. Remember: the IRS will not call about taxes without sending a notice through the mail first. Report IRS imposter scams to the Treasury Department.
     
  • File early. File as early as possible. The IRS and the SCDOR will begin accepting 2021 Individual Income Tax Returns on January 24. Identity thieves use consumer information to file fraudulent tax returns and steal refunds before the individual files.
     
  • File online in safety. When filing online, use anti-virus software and ensure the computer is connected to a secure internet connection. Use strong and unique passwords and enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Do not use public Wi-Fi. There are several websites that allow certain taxpayers to prepare and file their taxes for free, such as the IRS Free File program and the options from the SCDOR.
     
  • Get an Identity Protection PIN. Taxpayers who can verify their identities may opt into the IRS IP PIN program, a free added layer of protection. The ID Protection PIN is a six-digit code known only to the individual and the IRS. Use the Get an Identity Protection PIN tool to immediately get an IP PIN. Never share the IP PIN with anyone but a trusted tax provider.
     
  • Use a legitimate tax preparer. Consumers should make sure their preparer is reputable, licensed and has a Preparer Tax Identification Number from the IRS. Visit www.irs.gov or call (800) 906-9887 to see if you qualify for free tax prep services provided by IRS-certified volunteers. For more tips on how to choose a tax professional, click here.
     
  • Comply with IRS and SCDOR identity verifications. The SCDOR has implemented security measures to ensure that fraudsters are not using your information to file a false return and steal your refund. You may receive a letter from the SCDOR asking you to visit MyDORWAY to complete one of these verifications after filing your return. 

For more information on tax fraud and scams, visit SCDCA's Scam page. Consumers who believe they are the victim of a security breach, scam or identity theft are encouraged to seek guidance from SCDCA's Identity Theft Unit. Call (844) TELL DCA (835-5322) or fill out an ID Theft Intake form by visiting consumer.sc.gov and clicking on Report Identity Theft.

Taxpayers can report tax fraud to the SCDOR by visiting dor.sc.gov/taxfraud.

About SCDCA
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs aims to protect consumers from inequities in the marketplace through advocacy, complaint mediation, enforcement and education. To file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit consumer.sc.gov or call toll-free, 1 (800) 922-1594.

About the SCDOR
The South Carolina Department of Revenue aims to administer the revenue and regulatory laws of the State with integrity, effectiveness and fairness to all taxpayers, while maintaining the highest security and the protection of taxpayer information. Find more resources for the tax season at dor.sc.gov/iit. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with the latest news, tax tips, and available taxpayer resources.

 

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