Scammers lying in wait as income tax deadline arrives

Don't look now, but tomorrow's April 15, the deadline to file your taxes.

"People are very vulnerable over the next 24 hours they're going to rush to get these returns in and they'll think in the back of their heads, 'gosh I hope I did this correctly," said David Quinlan, a spokesman for the Better Business Bureau.

When there's uncertainty, scammers may be waiting, the Better Business Bureau warns, ready to lure you into one of their schemes.

Each year the IRS releases the Dirty Dozen--a list of the most common scams people encounter.

"Right now is prime time for tax scams," Quinlan said.

Some folks might receive e-mails, phone calls or messages from someone claiming to be from the IRS. They may say something's wrong with your return, and that they need more information.

This practice known as phishing raises red flags, especially when done by e-mail since the IRS won't contact you via e-mail.

Quinlan also says to watch out for blocked or random phone numbers, unrecognizable senders and heavy foreign accents or poor grammar.

And if you take your return on the road with you and leave it in a vehicle, watch out for the old smash and grab.

"Someone could break open that window and grab that tax return," Quinlan said. "Basically that tax return is guide book for identity thieves."

Practices also making the Dirty Dozen list are return preparer fraud, false 10-99 refund claims, and "free money" scams that promise a bigger return, so protect yourself.

"This is a very lucrative business for these scammers there's a reason they keep doing it," Quinlan said.

If you have a lot of personal information lying around, the Better Business Bureau can destroy it for you for free next Saturday.

Bring any uwanted receipts or personal tax information they'll safely destroy it for you for free. Go the Better Business Bureau Web site for more information.

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