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      Consumer Advocates Warning of Tax Preparer Scams

      Paul Gutierrez

      OMAHA (KPTM) - It's that time of year again. Tax season is now officially here, which also means scammers may try to target your hard earned money.

      "It's unfortunately quite common," said Ed Leahy, a community specialist.

      Leahy told FOX 42 News Friday he hears of people rushing to get their taxes finished every year. These are early filers who need money as soon as possible, which makes them especially vulnerable to con artists.

      "You really need to be careful," said Leahy. "Any kind of unsolicited business that looks too good to be true to where you're going to make money if you invest this little but just isn't worth it."

      Leahy also recommends doing a little homework before selecting someone to do your taxes.

      "Any preparer that doesn't ask you a lot of questions about your life, about your family, about your expenses isn't doing a thorough job for you."

      It's a job that may go into overtime even after April 15th if the IRS rejects your return.

      "Make sure you select a place that's always going to be there for you even after tax season. Established businesses do have training and certifications and some requirements for their preparers."

      If you're in need of tax help this year, free preparation services are available beginning Monday. The Omaha Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition is joining with three other organizations to make it happen. The big kickoff is scheduled to take place at 10 A.M. Monday at the Old Bank of the West building (now Family Housing Advisory Services' South Office) at the corner of 36th and Q Streets.

      For a complete listing of services and times, you're urged to log onto www.uwmidlands.org/taxes for more information.

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