Tips to Help Prevent Tax Identity TheftTips to Help Prevent Tax Identity Theft
We all take precautions to ensure our money is not stolen from us and it’s equally as important to make sure we protect our identity. Falling victim to tax identity theft could rob you of your tax refund or cause the IRS to think you owe money when you don’t.
Criminals take advantage of tax season by filing tax returns using stolen names and social security numbers to collect victims’ tax refunds. By practicing a few simple habits that can help protect your personal information, you can ensure that your refund lands in your hands rather than a thief's.
Fraudsters can use clever tactics to obtain your personal information and file false tax claims.
Be ready with these tips to help prevent tax identity theft:
- File your tax return early, giving criminals less time to use your information to file a false return.
- If you file online, use a protected Wi-Fi network. Avoid using public networks.
- If you file by mail, drop your tax return at an official postal box instead of your home mailbox.
- Research your tax preparer before handing over all your financial information.
- Shred sensitive documents that you don't need and safely file the ones you do.
- Beware of phishing scams by email, text, or phone. The IRS will contact you via mail.
- Keep an eye out for missing mail. If you don't receive important tax documents or it looks like mail has been previously opened, contact the IRS immediately.
- Alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
- Respond promptly to any IRS notices and complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
- Contact your bank immediately to close any compromised accounts.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records:
- Report identify theft to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.
Federal Trade Commission | Internal Revenue Service
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