Ah, tax time. It’s arguably the worst thing about spring, and to make it even worse, it brings a new source of identity theft anxiety: tax-related ID theft. Learn how to protect yourself so you can get back to lounging on your patio or planting flowers in your garden.
What is tax-related identity theft?
Tax-related identity theft happens when your Social Security number is stolen and used to file a fraudulent tax return. You may not be aware this has happened until your return is rejected for being a duplicate or you receive a letter from the IRS about suspicious activity.
How can I help protect myself?
- Use a security software that includes a firewall and anti-virus protections. Keep it turned on and set to update.
- Protect your personal data! Never carry around your Social Security card. Shred all unneeded documents that contain your Social Security number. Store any needed documents that contain your SSN, like past tax filings, in a locked filing cabinet.
- Don’t fall prey to phishing emails or scam phone calls. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by email or through social media. The IRS doesn’t threaten taxpayers over the phone and they will never ask you to wire money or share credit card information over the phone. IRS notices are only sent through the mail.
What should I do if I’m a victim of tax-related ID theft?
First, make sure to still file your taxes, even if you have to mail a paper return. Then, if you suspect you’re a victim but you haven’t received a letter from the IRS, visit identitytheft.gov and fill out the Identity Theft Affidavit form. If you have received a letter from the IRS, call them using the provided phone number. For more assistance, read IRS Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How It Works.
Stay safe out there and make sure to contact DataSafe for your shredding needs.