Tax season is only a couple of weeks away — the Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns on Feb. 12 and they want you to be aware of scammers.

Filing your taxes early may get you a refund faster, but it also puts you ahead of the criminals. Stolen identity refund fraud happens when someone files a fake return in your name to get your refund, and filing early may stop them.

“Many taxpayers won’t know this has happened to them until they go to file their own return electronically and it gets rejected,” said Joleen Simpson, assistant special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigation in New England. “The earlier you get your return in, the less likely you will be a victim of this scheme, because the first return that comes in is what’s accepted.”

Americans this year will have to navigate their taxes with the extra burden of accounting for the pandemic. Unemployment, working…

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