Tax identity theft affects thousands of taxpayers every year. This occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your social security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
Here are some tips you can take to reduce your risk of experiencing tax identity theft.
- File your return as early as possible to reduce the time an identity thief can use to file a fraudulent tax return in your name.
- Protect your personal identifying information by always leaving your social security card at home, never disclose personal information over email or on the phone unless you have initiated the contact.
- Protect your personal computers and email accounts with firewalls and antivirus software.
- Choose strong, unique passwords for each email and financial site you use. Don’t allow your computer to automatically save passwords. Change them regularly.
- Beware of phishing scams. Avoid opening email attachments or clicking on any links you are not 100% familiar with. The IRS will never request personal or financial information through email communication.
- Shred bank and tax documents.
- Actively monitor your credit reports from the three bureaus.
- View and monitor your tax information on the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account
- If you have been a victim of identity theft, you can attain an IRS Identity Protection PIN. It is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and to the IRS. It helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns. Starting in 2021, the IRS is expanding the Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program to all taxpayers who can verify their identities. Learn more about it here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5367es.pdf
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