AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh said as tax-filing season has begun, be aware of possible tax identity theft.
Tax identity theft occurs when someone steals your Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax refund or to get a job.
Johnston-Walsh said if the Internal Revenue Service receives a duplicate tax return filing using your Social Security number, you will receive a written notice through the mail.
Likewise, the IRS will send a notice if you have unreported income or if you and someone else are claiming the same dependents.
The IRS will not initiate contact with you by email, text or social media.
To reduce your risk of being victimized by tax identity theft, submit your tax return early. Do not give out your personal information.
Shred personal information with a micro-cut shredder.
Check the status of your refund after filing at www.irs.gov/refunds. If you think someone filed a fraudulent refund with your information, call the IRS Identity Theft line at 800-908-4490. To learn more, visit www.ftc.gov/taxidtheft.