AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Not only is it the time to file your taxes, but it’s also Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.

When people file their taxes, they could be at risk of falling for IRS impersonation scams or tax identity theft. 

“We generally see that somebody has been a victim of identity theft when we go to electronically file their tax return and it gets rejected by the IRS,” said Paul Wade, a managing and tax partner SME CPAs.

Tax identity theft happens when someone files a tax return using your name and social security number.

“You wanna protect your social security number, so don’t send anything that has your SSN via email or anything that’s unsecure,” Wade said.

People should also be aware of the ways to tell if someone is pretending to be an IRS agent.

“The IRS will NEVER initiate contact with a taxpayer via text, phone. They will only contact you via mail,” Wade said. “So if somebody calls you saying they’re from the IRS, they’re not. You would have to call the IRS if you wanted to talk to the IRS.”

One of the best ways to avoid these issues is to file your taxes as soon as possible.

“In recent years, I think the IRS, the state of Georgia, the state of South Carolina and other states have done a much better job of cracking down on that,” Wade said. “Nowadays a tax payer will get a letter in the mail saying a tax return has been filed in your name and SSN, we just want to verify that it’s a legitimate return.”

The deadline to file for a federal tax return this year is April 18th.

If you think you’ve been scammed, you can fill out this form on the IRS’s website and submit it with your tax return.