In the midst of tax season with another stimulus check on the way, the Internal Revenue Service is warning the public about scams circulating.
Tax season for many Americans means a refund, but Thomas Fattorusso warns it's also a prime time for scammers to cash in.
"Throughout the United States, Criminal Investigations is investigating hundreds of these scams," says Fattorusso, a special agent in charge of such investigations for the IRS Philadelphia field office.
He says in his office, which covers Pennsylvania and Delaware, they're vetting leads every day and not just for tax preparation related scams but also ones related to the economic impact payments.
"If you receive a text or a phone call or an email from someone stating they're from the IRS or any other organization saying they can help you get your economic impact payment faster, it's false and it's a scam," said Fattorusso.
He also says it's a numbers game. The scammers send out blast emails or phone calls, then solicit personal information so they can steal your identity, file false returns, or divert funds fraudulently. He says the IRS will never contact anyone via phone, social media or email to ask for information.
"If something doesn't feel right, if someone's asking you specifically for information that you're not comfortable giving, then you want to check up on that first before you just freely give out your information," added Fattorusso.
The IRS says prevention by safeguarding personal information is one of the most effective ways to keep from becoming a victim.
"You are ultimately responsible for everything that is on your tax return," said Fattorusso. "We advise, before the return is filed, before you sign your return, make sure that you go line by line and you understand everything that's on your tax return."
He also says to make sure your tax preparer has a preparer tax identification number and is available outside of tax season to answer questions that may come up about your return. He warns never to sign a blank return.
Visit the IRS website for more information.