Daily Court Reporter - News Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost offers tips for avoiding tax scams
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost offers tips for avoiding tax scams
Attorney General Dave Yost is urging Ohioans to watch out for scammers this tax season and to protect their personal information and refund dollars.
“Everybody loves a tax refund – especially bad guys, who want yours,” Attorney General Yost said. “They’re rubbing their hands with glee now that it’s tax season, and their favorite criminal tool is your personal information.”
The Attorney General’s Office has received more than 130 reports of tax-related scams in January. The office encourages citizens to follow these steps when filing their taxes:
• File your taxes as soon as possible: Tax identity theft generally occurs when someone steals your personal information to file a tax return and fraudulently obtain your refund. The sooner you file, the less likely it is that someone can file on your behalf.
• Choose a reputable tax preparer: If you use a tax preparer, make sure they have the credentials you’re looking for by visiting the IRS’ Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers or by confirming a Certified Public Accountant’s credentials. Before having your tax return prepared, ask about all associated fees. Research a business with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau.
• Protect your personal information: If you file your taxes online, make sure to use a secure internet connection. If you file by mail, take your completed return directly to the post office. Keep sensitive documents in a secure place. Shred any unneeded documents that contain your Social Security number or other sensitive information.
• Consider the costs of any “fast” refunds: Offers for instant or “fast” refunds may be costly refund anticipation loans or refund anticipation checks. These products may involve substantial fees. Avoiding a refund anticipation loan may save you money without diminishing the amount of your refund. When filing your taxes electronically, you can have any refund directly deposited into your bank account, typically within a few weeks.
• Use any refund wisely: Be an informed consumer and smart shopper by spending any refund wisely or saving it for later. For any major purchases such as a vehicle, do business only with reputable dealers. You can find help researching a company’s reputation through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau. Be sure to get everything – including any promises made by the dealer – in writing and read the fine print.
Consumers who suspect a scam or an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.
About the State of Ohio Attorney General's Office
By law, the Attorney General is the chief law officer for the state of Ohio. We protect Ohio families from predatory financial practices through our enforcement authority in the areas of consumer protection, antitrust, charitable organizations, and health care fraud.
We support the important work of local law enforcement agencies by training officers at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. Experts at our Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation analyze DNA, fingerprints, and other evidence. The Organized Crime Investigations Commission and the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway provide additional resources to crack complex cases. We directly enforce Ohio’s environmental laws.
By advocating Ohio’s strong open government laws, we promote accountability, providing ongoing training in public records and open meetings. Our Internal Audit division has unfettered access to ensure that our own policies and procedures are followed properly, so the spotlight of inquiry is also upon us at all times.
We offer services to protect the most vulnerable citizens among us, including children, the elderly, victims of crime and those who are preyed upon by greed in its many forms: unfair, illegal or shady business practices, criminal conduct and abuse of power and corruption. We have many programs to support veterans, active duty military, and their families.
Date Published: February 12, 2019