Don't Get Hooked: Online Taxes

Identity thieves use different methods to obtain your personal information.

They also use different seasons...including tax season.

It may seem like a well-timed blessing when that tax offer arrives in your inbox...but beware...staying one-step ahead of the scammers will help make sure you..."Don't Get Hooked."

The tax rush isn't here yet...but it will be soon.

And if you procrastinate and file late, you could file for tax preparer scams that seek to gain your financial and personal information, not help you get a big refund.

"It looks good," explains Mike Rohrer with the Arkansas Better Business Bureau. "The offer sounds good. And it turns out you lose your information. Somebody captures your information and they will use it to either get your tax refund or get other information, your bank account numbers."

Before hiring a tax preparer, check company credentials. All authorized e-file providers are listed on the IRS web site.

Don't respond to unsolicited offers that arrive via email or text message.

Make sure the site you are using is secure. There should be an "s" after the "http." Also look for a tiny padlock symbol on the screen.

And be realistic. If one tax offer beats all the others by a wide margin, beware.

"An online service is still a business," says Rohrer. "There is still a business somewhere. You can go to the Better Business web site and look and find out where that business actually exists. Check the KATV web site. Look through the Better Business Bureau web site. You can find the reputable businesses. And even the online businesses...if you are going to use them just make sure they are secure."

All of the reputable, nationally known tax preparers offer software and even deals for their customers who want to do and file their taxes online.

Just make sure you are dealing with the real thing...and do your taxes early so you can take your time.

Air date: March 6th, 2013