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Tax refund scams reported in Mid-Missouri

Tax season is in full swing, but so are the con artists working to steal your money and identity, according to authorities.

“All it takes to file a fraudulent tax return is for somebody to have your name and Social Security number,” Mike Harrison of the Better Business Bureau said.

Scammers use emails and phone calls in Mid-Missouri to get that information.

Con artists call or email posing as the IRS and ask you to send them money or click on a link.

“With the email, there is some type of a warning that somebody has tried to maybe access their online tax return or that they need to update their IRS e-filing information,” said Harrison.

If you follow the email’s directions you could be giving scammers access to your personal information, setting yourself up for identity theft.

“If you have ever spoken to somebody who has had their identity stolen it is a nightmare,” said James Jackson, a tax preparer at H&R Block.

Jackson who has been a tax preparer for 20 years said this is the first year H&R Block is offering identity theft protection to its customers.

“When that is involved, the IRS issues you a PIN or personal identification number. You have to use that then to file, so right there is one level of security,” said Jackson.

Harrison with the BBB told ABC 17 News that it is important to remember the IRS will never email, text or call you. The agency will only mail tax information to you.

Turbo Tax is a popular way to file taxes online. In the past month, Harrison said some Turbo Tax users were getting scam emails about turbo tax.

Turbo Tax then stopped electronic transmission of state returns for about 24 hours on Feb. 5 and 6.

Harrison said it is safe once again to use Turbo Tax if you still need to file your taxes.

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