Safety tips to protect your identity and money when filing taxes online

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CHARLESTON, W.VA. (WTAP) - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey shares tips for people to protect their personal information when preparing and filing state and federal income taxes.

Sensitive information like Social Security numbers, finances, birthdays and addresses are some of the many things scammers can easily use to their advantage.

Consumers can greatly reduce the risk of fraud by filing their return early, which gives thieves less time to file a false return, since IRS records would show a return in the consumer’s name has already been filed.

When filing taxes online, you should use a secure Internet connection and never file a tax return via publicly available WI-FI.

Never carry a Social Security card, banking information or any other personally identifiable information in a wallet. Instead, keep such documents in a secure location.

Cross shred financial and tax documents. Identity thieves rummage through trash to find information.

Be wary of suspicious emails that look legitimate, but are meant to steal your personal information.

Know the Internal Revenue Service does not contact taxpayers via text message, email or social media.

Be aware that unsuspecting victims of tax-related identity theft often receive a letter from the IRS saying it received multiple tax returns filed in the victim’s name or indicate the taxpayer received wages from an employer he or she doesn’t know.

Anyone who receives a letter from the IRS indicating potential impersonation should immediately call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.

Consumers who believe they may be the victim of tax-related identity theft should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at

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