TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it's not quite the case when an identity thief is on the hunt for someone's hard-earned cash.
There are several precautions taxpayers can take during the upcoming tax season.
Find a tax professional they can trust with their personal information or securely do it themselves.
File early, the earlier taxes are filed, the better. That means less time for crooks to snag an identity.
Also remember, being proactive is key. Those who don't choose to do their own taxes, it means asking how tight a tax preparer's security system may be. If the taxpayer isn't directly targeted, the tax preparer's business might be.
David Tinny, EA with First Choice Tax Services told Tucson News Now, "People are out there who are targeting tax preparers trying to send an email that has Malware on it."
Tinny warned us to be extra careful after the large Equifax data breach hit consumers last year.
"If you get a letter from the IRS and it says you didn't record this W2 from some employer in Nebraska, there's a good change your information was stolen," said Tinny.
At the very least, it doesn't hurt to be skeptical. Ask a professional if concerned about being a target of fraud.
If you become a victim, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report it to the FTC, file an Identity Theft Affidavit with the IRS electronically, and get a personal recovery plan.
IMPORTANT! Tinny also told TNN he's gotten several calls about healthcare requirements this tax season.
New tax laws don't kick in until next year, so filers must have healthcare when they file this year.