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Lu-Ann Dominguez, a shareholder in Gunster’s Fort Lauderdale office, spoke with USA Today about the rise in identity theft scams during tax season.

The hustle goes like this: Thieves file returns using stolen Social Security numbers in order to obtain billions in tax refunds. Victims often don’t realize a return was filed in their name until their own return is rejected by the IRS, Dominguez explains. Legitimate refunds may then be delayed for up to a year while the IRS investigates the matter.

Dominguez offers these tips to avoid having your identity stolen:

  • Guard your Social Security number: Don’t give it to doctors, dentists or other businesses.
  • Do your taxes early: Prevent identity theft by being the first to file in your name.
  • Use a legitimate tax preparer, as some have worked with thieves to prepare fraudulent returns.

Read the entire USA Today: Protect yourself as scams spring up during tax season

Read related article by Lu-Ann Dominguez: Identity theft thrives during tax season; how to avoid becoming a victim


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