What is Tax-related Identity Theft?

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. If you become a victim, the IRS is committed to resolving your case as quickly as possible. You may be unaware that this has happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return has already been filed using your SSN.

We suggest taking a few simple steps to protect your personal and financial data online and at home:

  1. Keep your computer secure by using a firewall, virus protection software and file encryption for sensitive data.
  2. Check out companies before doing business online to find out who you are dealing with.
  3. Don’t open attachments in emails unless you can verify the source.
  4. Don’t click on websites embedded in e-mails. Go directly to their websites instead.
  5. Only give personal information on websites using secure “https” addresses.
  6. Use strong passwords.
  7. Back up your files.
  8. Protect your personal information by not carrying your social security card.
  9. Do not share your address on social media.
  10. Keep old tax returns and tax records under lock and key or encrypted if electronic.
  11. Shred tax documents before throwing them away.
  12. Remove personal data before disposing of an old computer, tablet, mobile phone or back-up hard drive.

If you are a victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission recommends these steps:

File a complaint with the FTC at:  identitytheft.gov.

Close any financial or credit accounts opened by identity thieves.

Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records:

  • www.Equifax.com 1-888-766-0008
  • www.Experian.com 1-888-397-3742
  • www.TransUnion.com 1-800-680-7289