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With the tax-filing season in full swing, the Library and Information Services wants to remind everyone to be aware that identity thieves thrive on this seasonal opportunity and have new tricks up their sleeves.

Like any phishing campaign, the different approaches are clever and seem extremely legitimate. Some examples include scammers calling you pretending that they are the IRS demanding you pay or face consequences; some phishing emails may explain that your taxes are overdue and you must click and go to a website or open an attachment to process your overdue amounts; and other messages may insist that they need to verify your W-2 and other personal information, asking you to send them pictures of your driver’s license, documents, and other forms.

Remember, any message that creates a strong and threatening sense of urgency is a definite indicator of a scam.

To increase security, the IRS offers taxpayers extra protection through the agency’s Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) program. The IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to verify their identity when submitting their federal tax forms. It also helps to prevent someone from filing a fake return using someone else’s SSN. To date, there are already tens of millions participating in the IP PIN program.

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email, text message, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. The only method the IRS will use through first contact is via mail. If you want to confirm if a message that you received is legitimate, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

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