It is tax season: prevent identity theft with these tips.

Tax season is the time of year when individual taxpayers typically prepare their financial accounts and reports for the previous year and file their tax returns, which is usually between January 1 and April 15 of each year. Individuals in the U.S. normally have until April 15 of the year after any reportable earnings to file their yearly tax return. Late penalties and interest fees apply to tax returns filed after the deadline.

The U.S. tax season begins Monday, January 23, 2023, when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) starts collecting and processing returns for the 2022 tax year and ends on April 18, 2023.

Con artists and fraudsters take advantage of the tax season to collect personal information in order to access financial accounts and commit identity theft and other financial crimes.

Here are some tips to avoid this:

Be on the lookout for

1. Unknown debits from your checking account or credit card transactions.

2. Calls from debt collectors regarding purchases you never made.

3. An unfiled tax return that was received by the Internal Revenue Service in your name.

4. Bills or bank statements that didn't arrive in the mail.

5. Always monitor your bank statements and financial activities.

Safeguard your personal data

1. If possible, avoid using paper. Get your statements sent to and kept in your online account.

2. Lock up or destroy sensitive documents, do not leave them lying around.

3. Do not provide personal information to someone who phones, emails, or messages especially if you did not initiate the request.

4. Be on the lookout for bank or government organization impostors- don't reply to or open links in a text, email, or social media post from someone identifying themselves as representing a reputable firm, bank, or government organization.

5. Use strong passwords and authentication apps.

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