HOW TO PREVENT TAX SEASON IDENTITY THEFT

HOW TO PREVENT TAX SEASON IDENTITY THEFT

The calendar has changed to February, which means tax season is just around the corner.  This year, in addition to the usual anxiety about tax season, there’s a new concern for consumers to understand: tax identity theft. 

Tax identity theft occurs when someone files taxes in your name. Over the past few years, tax identity theft has escalated immensely. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there were nearly 940,000 tax returns with identity theft for the 2011 processing year, up from just 49,000 two years ago. 

A new report from the National Taxpayer Advocate states that the IRS has been ineffective and incapable of assisting tax identity theft victims, citing internal organizational as well as procedural issues. Consumers need to protect themselves since effective assistance might not be available once their identity has been compromised. 

TrustedID—the nation’s most comprehensive identity protection and privacy service—offers some easy tips to help protect your information this tax season. 

  • Monitor your mail closely during tax season. Make a list of everyone who pays you, including employers, banks and brokerages, and make sure you receive hard copies in the mail of what they send to the IRS. 
  • Track and shred important tax documents. Always keep your tax paperwork in a safe and secure location. Shred any paperwork you no longer need before you dispose of it. 
  • Beware of IRS-related scams. If you receive an email or phone call asking for your personal or financial information, delete it or send it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov for investigation. The IRS will never email taxpayers about issues related to their accounts or ask for your Social Security number or financial details over the phone. If you have any doubt whether a contact from the IRS is authentic, call them directly to confirm it. 
  • Protect your computer. If you’re filing your taxes online, be sure to use updated firewall, antivirus, and spyware software. 
  • Get proactive identity theft protection. Comprehensive identity protection service, like TrustedID’s IDEssentials helps safeguard your personal and financial information, including your Social Security number, bank accounts, credit cards, online profiles, credit reports and scores, and can help prevent identity theft before it starts.

Guest Post from Scott Mitic, CEO of TrustedID

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