CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is reminding consumers to safeguard personal information when filing taxes this year.

The office says anyone not exercising caution can be an easy target for those out to steal identifiable information and use it for unscrupulous gain. That includes required documents, such as Social Security numbers, birthdays and income information.

“Because tax season happens the same time every year, there are plenty of scammers just waiting for someone to unintentionally expose personal information,” Morrisey said in a press release. “That’s why it’s especially important to be more careful than usual and pay close attention.”

Those who file electronically give scammers less of a chance to file false returns.

Other tips to remember include:

* Never carry a Social Security card, banking information or any other personally identifiable information in a wallet. Keep such documents in a secure location.

* Cross shred documents. Identity thieves rummage through trash to find information.

* The Internal Revenue Service will make contact through mail. They will not contact taxpayers via text message, email or social media.

* Those who file electronically should only use secure networks, strong passwords and make sure the software is secure.

Those who believe they may have been the victim of tax-related identity theft are asked to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-368-8808.

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