Here’s a really good reason to keep Social Security numbers secret, and to get taxes done early. The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office is alerting people to an easy way to get ripped off. All somebody needs is a few key pieces of information, including a Social Security number, to file for a refund is someone else’s name. The victim usually is unaware of the ripoff until they file their own taxes and the IRS tells them that someone else has already done it. If personal information has been compromised, a six digit identity protection pin number can be acquired as an extra layer of security. Once acquired, the number is needed for any correspondence with the IRS. It’s also important to know that the IRS does not -ever, under any circumstances- call anybody on the phone to say they owe money on their taxes. Scam artists posing as IRS Agents sound very official and convincing, often including personal information about members of the household. The caller tells the victim that money is owed for a mistake made on a previous tax return. The victim is told that payment is due immediately, and failure to pay could result in arrest. The victim is ordered to transfer money via Western Union or Green Dot or some other untraceable service. Many Americans have fallen for the scam, and hundreds of local residents have gotten the calls as well, but there’s no way of knowing how many have been swindled. An alternate version of the scam has the caller telling the victim that they’re owed a refund, but some personal information is needed before a check can be sent. This is also something the IRS does not do.