By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — So have you started to tackle your tax return yet? It’s hard to believe but tax season is already in full swing. There are some simple things you should look out for so you won’t become a victim in a tax-related scam.

Millions of consumers will soon opt to put their most sensitive personal and financial information in the hands of a paid tax preparer. That’s why it’s important to choose that person or organization wisely.

The IRS has some advice for choosing a tax preparer:

– Make sure you choose someone with a valid IRS preparer tax identification number.
– Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund.
– Stay away from tax preparers who don’t ask for receipts or don’t ask too many questions about whether or not you may be eligible for certain deductions and credits.
– Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form. Never sign a blank return!
– Make sure you will be able to contact the preparer after the return has been filed, even after the April due date, in case questions arise.

Tax season is also a prime season for identity theft.

Consumers can take steps to protect personal data during this time by never giving information over the phone or internet unless you initiated the contact with your tax professional or an IRS employee.

IRS scam calls are still going strong. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or the Treasury claiming that you owe money and threatening you with arrest if you don’t pay immediately, hang up the phone it’s a scam. And be sure to warn elderly family members and friends about the scam as they are often targeted.