Mar 21, 2016 10:03 AM EDT

How To Prevent Hackers and Scammers From Stealing Your Tax Refund

The deadline for filing of income tax returns is on Apr. 18, 2016 and once again, thieves will be busy hacking and scamming those who will be filing for tax refunds. You can prevent these criminals from stealing your tax refunds by doing some effective preventive measures.

One way these thieves can steal your money is through identity theft. According to the Internal Revenue Service, it had investigated almost 1,500 cases of tax fraud in 2013, an increase of 66 percent from the previous year.

"The scams are usually what they call phishing, where they're fishing for information. So you should not give out any information -- banking or Social Security numbers or anything like that -- on the phone," said Charles Stein, a certified public accountant in New York.

Not giving your personal information, especially your SSS number to just anybody is one of the keys in protecting your tax refunds. The IRS will never contact taxpayers for personal information in emails, over the phone or on social media.

Should anybody try to get your personal identity through these methods; you can report it to phishing@airs.gov.

If you suspect that a scammer stole your refund, call the IRS at once and they will help you find the best way to get your refund back.

"The IRS will send you a letter and they'll generally ask you to file via paper instead of electronically because somebody's probably beat you to filing," said Stein.

Don't give your Social Security Number to just anyone. It is the important piece of information a hacker needs to file a fake return and steal your refund.

Another way to protect your money from scammers is to get an IRS Identity Protection PIN. This government agency has developed this kind of identity protection so that hackers cannot file a bogus claim on your account.

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