Filing a tax return? Here are some ways to avoid scams and keep your personal information safe.

IRS will never call you to demand immediate payment over the phone

SAN ANTONIOTax season begins on Feb. 12 this year, but many can start their return process now, giving scammers a chance to target unsuspecting taxpayers.

The Internal Revenue Service is warning people about what to look out for and offering tips on how to avoid tax scams.

Let’s take scam phone calls as an example. Fraudsters will contact people and pretend to be the IRS. They will often demand immediate payment over the phone and require you to use prepaid debit cards or gift cards as forms of payment.

The IRS says it will never call or email you to ask for personal information, nor will it demand immediate payment without sending you a bill in the mail. The agency will also not ask for your credit card information over the phone, nor will it threaten to have you arrested for not paying immediately.

Filing a tax return? Here’s what you need to know this year.

It’s recommended to do the following to ensure your personal information is safer:

  • File your taxes electronically and request the refund be deposited directly into your bank account.
  • Do not carry your Social Security card with you unless needed. If you have one, don’t carry your Medicare card unless you’re going to the doctor for the first time.
  • Remember to review your credit report for any suspicious activity. You can get a free credit report every 12 months at

If you encounter any scam calls or emails, report any incidents to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by dialing 1-800-366-4484.

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