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Don’t fall victim to tax season tricks

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Tax time is not something most Americans enjoy, but what makes it even more dreadful is knowing there are people out there who are trying to steal your hard-earned cash, or worse, your identity.

“It used to be uncommon years ago, but now it's commonplace,” said Melvin McGill of Gilmacs Accounting in Grand Rapids.

McGill says he hears about people pretending to be IRS officials and stealing money from others all the time. He tells everyone the same thing: the IRS will never call you.

The BetterBusiness Bureau serving West Michigan issued a warning on their website to be on the lookout for fraudulent calls and even doctored letterhead. The BBB is urging people to call the BBB, the attorney general's office, or the IRS if you receive any sketchy requests or letters.

McGill says another trick to watch for is people actually stealing your refund. Thieves will steal your Social Security number to file taxes in your name, and then get your refund sent right to their door.  Most people don’t even know it’s happening until they go to file their own taxes.

Finally, McGill warns about bogus tax return professionals. You should look for someone with at least an associate’s degree with a license to practice, of course.

McGill urges you to keep your Social Security number private and file your taxes as soon as possible.

If you’re ever in doubt, contact the IRS immediately. If something doesn’t look or sound right, it probably isn’t.

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