Tax officials warned holiday shoppers on Monday to be alert for attempts to steal their personal information and tax returns. From left: Ken Corbin, commissioner for the IRS' Wage & Investment Division; Lynne Riley, commissioner for the Georgia Department of Revenue; and Daniel Eubanks of Intuit. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

Buyers beware: Georgia shoppers should be on guard for identity theft

Holiday shoppers should be vigilant about scams to steal their private information and income tax refunds.

That’s the warning delivered Monday by the Georgia Department of Revenue Commissioner Lynne Riley and the IRS, which are trying to crack down on tax fraud.

Customers shouldn’t click on suspicious links in their emails, carry their Social Security cards with them or answer phone calls from thieves posing as legitimate organizations, they said. Personal information could be used to file fraudulent 2018 income tax returns. The state has blocked $118 million in fraudulent refund claims so far this year.

“Whenever you’re shopping for gifts, criminals are shopping for your credit card data, your financial data, your Social Security number and other sensitive data that could help them file a fraudulent tax return,” Riley said.

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