A spokesman for the Missouri IRS has one message for Missourians filing their taxes before the April 15th deadline: to protect your tax information and don’t become a victim of identity theft.

With the tax return deadline a little over two months away, Missouri IRS spokesman Michael Devine says tax time is the time of year when criminals will try to steal your identity so they can file a tax return in your name. Devine says one thing to keep in mind to prevent identity theft is that the IRS will never contact you through email or the telephone.

“The first time the IRS will ever contact you will be in a letter that is delivered by the U.S. Postal Service,” he says. “It will have your name spelled correctly and it will very clearly explain the questions the IRS has.”

Devine says if there’s a concern the letter could be fake, to call the IRS and ask if they are trying to get in touch with you. “The people at our call site will know and you may have just avoided having your tax information stolen,” he says.

Devine says cases of identity theft could take months to solve and are some of the hardest cases the IRS has to work with.


AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (0:57)