Identify theft can happen when you least expect it or when you aren’t aware it’s occurring. Tax related identity theft is when someone uses your stolen Social Security Number to file a tax return attempting to claim your refund. Here are some ways that you can help protect your personal information to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft:
- Don’t carry documents with your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- Only give out your SSN or ITIN when it is required. Keep your personal cards with this information hidden in a safe place and only take them out when you need them. For instance, do not carry your SSN card with you in your wallet or purse. Always keep track of who you share this information with and be careful of who you share it with.
- Don’t give your personal information over the phone or internet with people you are unfamiliar with
- We know that online shopping is a go-to method for most consumers. However, what most people don’t realize is that these sites can be common places where identity thieves can gather your personal information. Only give your information to websites or people that you know will be receiving it.
- Don’t fall for scams
- Keep in mind that the IRS does not contact taxpayers by email or social media to request personal or financial information. So, if this happens to you do not reply or give the information that they are asking for. If someone calls or emails you claiming that they are from the IRS, report it to the IRS immediately.
- Always report suspicious activity
- It is important to routinely check your credit report for any unusual activity every year. If you see anything out of the ordinary, you are encouraged to report it as soon as possible. Also, if you see an individual or business committing these kinds of acts it is important to report it before they are able to continue with the theft.
If you have any more questions on how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, contact us!