Tax Identity Theft Awareness


February 2020

It is tax season, which means identity thieves and IRS imposters are hard at work trying to steal your personally identifying information in order to file a phony tax return.

Do you know how to protect yourself and what to do if someone were to use your Social Security number to collect a fraudulent refund? While tax identity theft isn’t always avoidable, there are some steps you can take to help lower your risk of becoming a victim.

  • File early. The IRS only accepts one tax return per Social Security or Taxpayer ID number. If a thief submits your information first, your legitimate tax return will be rejected.
  • Always use anti-virus software with automatic updates.
  • Do not respond to phony phishing emails, deceptive phone calls, and bogus texts from supposed “IRS agents.” The IRS will not contact you without first sending you a bill.
  • Never send cash via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS will never require you to use a specific method of payment or ask for a credit/debit/gift card number over the phone.

For more information about Tax Payer Identity Theft, log on to or To report a suspicious call, text or email, contact the Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 239-258-3292.


by Lee County Sheriff’s Office