Protect Yourself from Identity Theft this Tax Season
Tax identity theft was the majority of identity theft complaints filed in 2016. If you are having any problem trying to file a tax return, you may already be a victim of identity theft. Remember to always shred any documents that include private information in them. Hire a professional shredding service so you know that the destruction of your documents has been done correctly.
What is Tax Identity Theft?
Tax identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return, in an effort to receive a refund and take the money.
You may not discover that you are a victim until you file your return and the IRS advises that a return already has been filed. The IRS has added new safeguards so you may receive a letter from the IRS that they have received a suspicious return.
Be On the Lookout for Any of These;
- A number of tax returns filed using your Social Security number
- You receive a refund check for a return you did not file
- You receive a letter from the IRS that additional taxes are due, or they are taking collection actions for a year that you supposedly did not file a return
- The IRS advises you that they have wage information from a company you never worked for
Steps to Take if You Become a Tax Identity Theft Victim
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided.
- Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit
Some Additional Steps You May Want to Consider
- File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
- Place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records in the three main credit reporting agencies:
- Request a copy of your credit report, review it and close any bank or credit card accounts opened without your permission.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Tax Identity Theft
- Never place documents in the regular trash; have them shredded.
- Use strong passwords for all online account access.
- Don’t open attachments or links in suspicious emails.
- Have a firewall and anti-virus software installed on your computer.
- Recognize that threatening phone calls from people claiming they are the IRS are phony. The IRS will never call you.
- Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse.
- Keep all your tax records separate in a locked drawer.
- After you file your tax return, shred any duplicate or unnecessary documents.
Time Shred Services is a local onsite shredding service that provides document destruction to the businesses and residents located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester and New Jersey. For more information give us a call or visit www.timeshred.com.