With tax season, approaching rapidly it is important that you know how to protect yourself from identity theft. Identity theft is something that usually originates from the outside of the tax administration system when taxpayers personal information is lost or stolen.
The taxpayer is usually unaware of what has taken place until it is time for them to file their tax returns and they find out their social security number has already been used to file a return.
Tips to help protect yourself
Today, in this article, we are going to provide you with some tips to help you protect your identity so you do not have to worry about having any unexpected surprises when you go to file your taxes.
- If someone contacts you via email or social media asking you for your personal or financial information it is not the IRS. They do not send emails stating you have been audited or to alert you about your refund status.
- You should never respond to any IRS notifications or questions in the form of electronic communication such as social media or text messaging because it is someone trying to get your information so they can steal your identity.
- In the event that you do receive, an email that is supposedly from the IRS be sure to forward it to the IRS.
- There are numerous ways that thieves, can get access to information to steal your identity, such as stealing your purse or wallet, pretending to be someone who needs information through email or via phone, looking through your trash, or hacking into an unsecured internet site where you have provided your information.
- Any website that does not start with www.IRS.gov is a fraud and it should be forwarded to the IRS.
If you think your identity has been stolen
In the event that your social security number is stolen, someone can use it to get a new job. Their employer is more than likely going to report the income they earned to the IRS with your social security number, which results in it looking like you, did not report all of your earned income on your tax return.
If this was to happen to you contact the IRS right away to show them that the income is not yours. Once they have validated that you are who you say you are they will make the updates so only your information is reflected. This will minimize future occurrences from happening.
If you receive a letter from the IRS informing you that you have had more than one tax return filed or it states that you received money from an employer not mentioned your identity has been stolen. You should respond to this immediately by getting in contact with the person whose information is listed in the letter. If you think, the notice is not legit contact the IRS to be sure.
Even if your tax records do not show any changes that would conclude that you are a victim of identity theft but you believe that you are still at risk because of losing your wallet/purse, suspicious credit card activity/credit report activity, you will want to give this IRS proof of your identity.
This would include giving them a copy of your valid government issued identification, copy of your police report/Form 14039, and the Identity Theft Affidavit. All of this information should be faxed to the IRS at 1-855-807-5720. Alternatively, the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit can be contacted free at 1-800-908-4490.
Scammers are bold
- When you start a new job, make sure you show your social security card. However, never carry your card or any documents that show your social security number when they are not needed.
- It is not uncommon for IRS impersonation schemes to be common during the tax season. They can take place in the form of Tweets, emails, websites, and more. Some scammers are even bold enough to call or fax their prey.
- If you ever get a notice or letter from the IRS and you think it is a fraud go here. In the event that the letter or notice is legit, you are going to want to reply promptly if required. If the letter is not legit contact 1-800-366-4484. You can even fax the letter to 1-202-927-7081.
Use a trusted source to file your tax return
When you are preparing to e-file make sure that your password is strong. It is also suggested that you go through a trusted provider such as TurboTax so you can be sure that they are not selling your information to scammers.
Not to mention the fact that Turbo Tax has the ability to insure that your information is in the correct spot while providing you with the largest refund ever. Additionally, once you have filed your return make sure you save the file to a flash drive and delete your information from your hard drive.
Store the flash drive in a safe place. If you work with an accountant, tell them the precautions you want them to take to insure that your information stays safe.
If you have information about identity, theft that negatively influenced your personal information, file a complaint online here. By filing a complaint, you can easily alert authorities of cybercrime, criminal and civil violations. Every complaint filed with the Internet Crime Complaint Center is sent to at least one law enforcement agency or regulatory agency that has jurisdiction over the matter.