Tax day is less than two weeks away. And while you're spending time preparing your tax return, scam artists are figuring out ways to steal your money and identity.
This year, for the first time ever, the number one target for scam-artists is your tax refund. ID thieves are especially interested in your return because it has all the information they need.
Tracy Cochran couldn't wait to get this year's tax refund because money was tight. But instead of a $2400 IRS check, she received a notice that somebody else had filed a return in her name. A thief was trying to intercept her refund. There are two versions of the scam:
Fake tax prep services. Thieves offer to do other people's taxes for free, then file fraudulent returns with Uncle Sam and high jack the refunds for themselves.
Con artists can target your kids, stealing children's social security numbers, and listing them as dependents to try and score a larger refund.
Stealing identities. Tracey Cochran can tell you how it feels. "I went into a panic, an absolute panic." She's not alone. An investigation of 1.4 million complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission found tax identity theft has more than tripled in the past five years.
Click here for ways to spot and prevent tax identity theft.