LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — While some have resolutions on their mind in January, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Western Michigan is encouraging you to be prepared for tax season.

Aside from headaches, there is another thing you should be prepared for: scams.

According to the BBB, the number one scam to watch out for is identity theft.

The easiest way to avoid a tax scam is to file as early as possible, so the scammers don’t have a chance to use your information and file before you do. It is always important to protect your personal information; however, filing early can help protect your tax return.” 

Lisa Frohnapfel, President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan

Another common scam is people impersonating the IRS.

The BBB of Western Michigan has tips on how to avoid scams this tax season.

The bottom line? File your taxes as early as possible. 

  • The IRS will not reach out by email, text or social media to request personal financial information.
  • If you do owe, the IRS will give you a chance to ask questions or appeal.
  • Write down your Identity Protection Pin (IPP) from the IRS before you file your return. The IPP a six-digit number that will be used to confirm your identity, along with your Social Security number. Once you apply for a PIN, you cannot opt-out and must use the pin each year you file your federal tax return. You will receive a new PIN each December by mail.
  • Make sure you are accessing the REAL IRS when filing electronically.

Finally, if you are the victim of tax identity theft, contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.