It's still early in the tax season but state agencies are already warning consumers about a tax fraud scam.
Sandy Chalmers, an administrator with the wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said, "The basic theme we've seen this year is that people file their taxes and then they hear from the IRS that someone has already filed their taxes returns in that home address and social security number."
Trade and Consumer Protection has received dozens of complaints from consumers this year saying they're unable to receive their returns. The reason--their identity has been stolen.
Susan Bach, with the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau said it's hard to catch these scammers because they often come from overseas.
"They're obviously very skilled they know tax laws, they know how to complete your tax returns for you, they're just doing it for all the wrong reasons," Bach said.
Cons like this happen year round but during tax season, consumers are even more vulnerable, officials said.
"You'll see a lot of store front operations pop up at tax time. Whoever you decide to use make sure in April, June, next December they will be available to answer questions about your tax returns," said Chalmers.
If you do use someone to help you file your tax returns don't be afraid to ask questions.
Gary Schmidt, an attorney at Le Grand Kaukaulin Law Firm recommends doing your homework before using a tax preparer.
"Ask them how many years they have done taxes. How many returns have they done every year?" Schmidt suggests.
There are ways you can protect yourself from having your identity stolen or failing victim to a scam; like shredding documents, ensure your computer anti-virus software is up to date, and never give out our social security number unless you're sure it's a credible source.
Bach warns, "The IRS is not going to send you an e-mail saying there is a problem with your tax return or they're not going to call you and ask for your social security."
If you do think your identity has been stolen or you're victim of a tax scam contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 422-7128.
And for tips on finding a credible source to help file your taxes click here for the Better Business Bureau website. They have a list of reputable sources.