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8 Tips for Tax Identity Theft Protection to Learn Before It’s Too Late

May 18, 2018

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If it seems sketchy, it probably is. Learn how to prevent and recover from tax identity theft >>

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Preventing & Recovering from Tax Identity Theft

“I wish someone would intercept my big tax refund,” said no one ever. But when tax identity theft enters the scene, that’s exactly what happens – and worse.

If your expected tax refund is MIA, or the IRS reports a duplicate tax return filed in your name, that’s a red flag. Fraudsters can use stolen identities to receive big refunds during tax season. The first step to protecting yourself is knowing how.

How to Protect Your Identity During Tax Season, Rabbit Season, or Any Other Season

Here are some ways to prevent your information from tax and data thieves:

  1. Don’t share any information with unreliable sources, including:
    Social Security Number (SSN)
    Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
    Bank account numbers
    PINs
    Tax filing status
    Date of birth
  2. Secure data on your computers by using firewalls and anti-virus software.
  3. Keep your financial and tax documents in a safe place at home.
  4. Don’t share your tax, financial and personal information over the phone, through mail, text messages, or social media sites.
  5. Credit monitoring: Check your credit card report frequently, preferably every 12 months.
  6. Frequently change passwords for important financial and tax-related online accounts.
  7. Use IRS online services for return filing and preparation, paying taxes, checking the status of your refund, etc.
  8. Sign up for a financial account monitoring service like TaxSafe™ to not only keep tabs on your taxes, but also stop ID theft or credit card fraud in its tracks.

If it seems sketchy, it probably is.

Don’t respond to any messages from the IRS or bank that you receive. Instead, call the institution using a number from the official website, or a former notice or letter.

Scams can come unsolicited via email, phone, text messages, social media messages, and personal visits. If you receive one, never respond immediately. Refuse to share sensitive information and end the communication.

What to Do When You Become a Victim of Tax ID Theft

Dealing with tax identity theft may be a royal pain, but you can get through it with these trusty tips. If you believe your identity has been stolen, you need to immediately take the following steps:

    1. File a Complaint with the FTC: There are no “Yelp” reviews for identity thieves. File your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or over the phone:
      Online: identitytheft.gov
      FTC Identity Theft Hotline: 1-877-438-4338 (TTY 1-866-653-4261)
    2. Contact the IRS Immediately: Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit: 1-800-908-4490. To report fraud, send a copy of your police report or IRS Form 14039, ID Theft Affidavit to the IRS. You will also need to provide proof of your identity, such as a copy of your driver’s license, passport or Social Security card.
    3. Place ‘Fraud Alert’ on Credit Records: To place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records, contact any one of the following three major credit bureaus:
      Equifax (www.Equifax.com, 1-800-766-0008)
      Experian (www.Experian.com, 1-888-397-3742)
      TransUnion (www.TransUnion.com, 1-800-680-7289)

You may review and monitor your credit reports to spot any suspicious activity. Also, inform your bank or other financial institutions about the theft. Request that they block any unauthorized or suspicious transaction made on your account(s).

  1. Report to the Police: You can file a complaint with your local law enforcement agency. Credit bureaus and other business may need your police report to remove fraudulent transactions.

Keep a record of the communications you receive and send. The resolution process for tax identity theft is elaborate and may take weeks. Remember: Even if your identity has been stolen, you must file your tax return and pay your tax bill on time.

 

In this data-driven world, your personal information can be easily accessible to thieves. What matters is how you protect yourself and handle any incidents. The truth is, it could happen to anyone.

Get financial peace of mind with combined tax monitoring, tax preparation, credit, and ID protection. Learn more about TaxSafe.

 

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