SCAM PREVENTION DURING TAX SEASON
If you’ve been a victim of an online data breach, or have had any personal identifying information stolen, take caution. This could be the first step toward tax fraud. Scammers use stolen names and Social Security numbers to file phony electronic tax returns and receive fraudulent refunds in the mail.
KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS
Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if the IRS or your tax professional/provider indicates:
- More than one tax return was filed using your SSN
- You receive a 1099 for unemployment, but you didn’t claim the benefit.
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.
HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK?
- Avoid phishing emails, as well as threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies, and even the IRS.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
- Shred unwanted documents that contain personal information before discarding.
- Never give out personal information over the phone or the Internet unless you initiated the contact.
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE
- Notify the IRS and Postal Inspectors if you believe you are the victim of tax refund fraud.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov.
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” on your credit records.
- Contact your financial institutions and close any financial or credit accounts opened without your permission or tampered with by identity thieves.