Phony Tax Preparers - How To Not Get Ripped Off

Tax season is in full swing right now. But as we begin to meet with our tax preparers, there are some things you want to keep in mind to protect yourself from becoming a victim of tax fraud.

A recent study by the National Consumer Law Center finds that some tax preparers are breaking the law .

According to the report, some examples from last year include: Stealing identities, filing secret returns with the IRS and reporting bogus children within the returns.

All of that sounds pretty bad but here's the worst news. In most states you are the one who could face fines or even criminal action if you sign off on anything fraudulent!

Experts recommend don't use a tax preparer who charges a fee based on the size of your refund check.

Another red flag- if a tax preparer asks for your refund to be deposited into their account instead of yours. Do not do this.

Never sign a blank tax return before your preparer has finished your taxes.

And finally, remember - if something sounds too good to be true it probably is.