Protecting Your Identity During Tax Season
Did you know February 3-7 is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its partners? The FTC’s website provides great tips and free webinars all this week on how to protect yourself from Tax Identity thieves and imposters, and what to do if you or someone you know runs into problems. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/tax-identity-theft-awareness
What is Tax Identity Theft?
Tax identity theft is when a person such as an identity thief obtains your name, social security number and uses this information to file a tax return in your name before you do to steal your tax refund.
How to Detect Identity Theft?
In a feature Experian article (one of the three nationwide credit bureaus), “What Are the Warning Signs of Tax Fraud?” a few common signs of tax fraud are when you file your return, you receive a rejection from the IRS stating your information was already used in a different return, or an unknown employer sends you a tax form: W-2 or 1099 that you are unfamiliar with. In some cases, you may receive a tax refund you did not expect in the mail or you may owe money to the IRS that you are not even aware of.
What can you do to protect yourself this Tax season?
You can start with these 6 helpful tips:
Protect your social security number!! Leave your social security card at home. Keep your social security number private unless you have a good reason to give it out.
Create strong passwords and change them often on all your accounts online and all devices you use regularly.
Beware of scams, robocalls, viruses and malware. Stay up to date on the new phishing scams, robocalls, and viruses and malware. Make sure to use a secure website to file your taxes electronically such as Https: website URL instead of http: which is not secure. Some websites say “Secure” and others even indicate a secure website in the web address bar or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
Shred financial papers, tax documents, and anything that may have private account numbers, bank accounts, etc.
Research and find credible sources for a tax preparer before you let anyone have your personal information.
Monitor your credit report. Check your credit report at least once a year or if you can regularly monitor your credit reports. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies; Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, to provide a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Be prepare this tax season, detect the early signs of tax fraud, and call us to assist you in providing the best solutions to protect you from Identity theft for all your personal and business needs.