By Brian New

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – ‘Tis the season to file taxes and for criminals to come up with new ways to steal your hard-earned money.

The Better Business Bureau reports more and more criminals are opening up storefronts just for the tax season.

After April 15th, they’re usually gone along with your refund and personal information.

The IRS reports in the past couple of years, identity theft and refund theft have exploded.

But thieves don’t have set up a store. Other scammers are taking advantage of people who use legitimate tax programs like Turbo Tax.

“People are receiving emails from Turbo Tax telling them that a return has not been accepted by the government and it tells them there’s an attachment that they’ll be instructed to go next,” says Tim Green, EECU Credit Union.

One local credit union is getting the word out to its members about phishing emails. These emails contain zip files that could ruin your computer. So don’t open them. The same is true of attachments in emails that look like they’re from the IRS.

“The IRS advises that they’ll only be in touch with you by letter,” says Jeannette Kopko, Better Business Bureau. “So if you get an email, a text message, social media, something like that, it’s not from the IRS.”

Here are some other tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Never give out your financial information to any tax preparer without checking them out first.
  • Never give out your date of birth or social security number to anyone unless you know how it will be used and protected.
  • And consider filing early. That way if your ID is stolen, you can alert the IRS as soon as possible.

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