This is the season to be especially vigilant with your personal information. Scammers are finding new ways to steal your money! The year's first quarter is when they are get your personal information and create fake tax returns to get a big tax refund for themselves. While you prepare your tax return, scam artists could be working to cause your own filing to be returned. That's because the IRS has already received the scammer's fake return with your name and social security number - only a different address. Scammers work long before April 15th to get their fake return in before your real one appears. Personal Finance Columnist Susan Tompor says your tax preparer could unknowingly be the source of the leak. "The IRS is alerting tax preparers that they are targets at this point. You do need to make sure your tax preparer is equipped with up-to-date anti-virus protection." Just think of all the information their files would have on you. You certainly don't want that information being put into a fake IRS return!
Tompor says you car could be another source of your personal information. Thieves going through your car may not be looking for just cash or your cell phone. They could be looking for information about you. Don't leave your mail in your car because there could be a notice from a government agency with usable information. Don't leave any source of ID including a paycheck stub, your drivers license, insurance, Medicare, or even Social Security cards. Tompor says scammers may purchase your information from someone who rifled through your vehicle.