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Tax season begins, beware of scammers

Posted at 11:43 PM, Jan 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-19 06:21:36-05

Tuesday kicks off the 2016 tax season, and that means you can start filing for your returns.

This also comes with a strong consumer alert to watch out for thieves trying to steal your money and your identity.

"They had me running from one money gram to another," said Nathan Alsheh, who still has the money transfer receipts from when he was scammed out of $6,000. "I fell for it. The scared tactic worked very well."

It was an IRS scam. Someone called him claiming to be an investigator with the IRS threatening him with an arrest warrant for tax evasion if Alsheh didn't pay up.

"They really knew what they were doing," said Alsheh.

With tax season just one day away, Alsheh says it's more important now than ever to be careful. "I hope that my story will help, even if it helps one."

NewsChannel Five's internet security expert Alan Crowetz of Infostream.cc says it's a red flag is the IRS is reaching out to you.

"The IRS is not going to call you," said Crowetz. "The IRS isn't going to do something on social media the IRS isn't going to send you an email."

Crowetz says the best way to trick someone is to rush them.

And it's not just phone and email scams for money that can cost you.

"Anytime anyone asks you anything about your money, your bank account or your personal information, and again personal information is very valuable to these people, you should be paranoid."

If you don't protect your personal information, someone could steal your identity to file for your tax return. Experts say the best way to avoid refund fraud is filing early.