The thought of falling victim to identity theft might be a horrifying possibility to taxpayers; however, there are ways to protect yourself and decrease your chances.
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What is identity theft?
Tax identity theft is impersonating a taxpayer, mostly to illegally receive a refund on their behalf, and millions of U.S. taxpayers fall victim to this every year. Most people find out that they are victimized when they receive a rejection following their tax return submission. This usually happens when someone lay their hands on your social security number and files a forged return claiming a refund utilizing your SSN and identity.
How can you protect yourself?
It is important to protect yourself before it’s too late. Below are the tips you can make use of to minimize your chances of becoming a tax identity theft victim.
First and foremost, you should keep your identity and private data secure, specifically, your social security number. It is essential to keep your SSN card in a safe place and not carry it with you unless needed.
Another important way to protect yourself is to make sure your personal information is safe. When filing a return, it’s important to keep in mind that your return includes confidential information that you should be careful with. When paper filing a tax return, it’s advised that taxpayers mail their returns through certified mail. When electronically filing a return, taxpayers should pay attention to doing their filing on a secure network connection.
It is also beneficial to prepare early for the tax season and file your legitimate return as soon as possible in order to avoid identity theft cases. ID thefts usually occur early in the tax season, and the IRS rejects the second return filed under the same SSN number; therefore, it’s best to file as soon as possible to prevent providing the opportunity to someone else to file under your identity without your permission.
An additional way to protect yourself is to request an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) from the IRS. An IP PIN is a six-digit number that helps the IRS verify your identity. The PIN is only known to you and the IRS and expires each year.
Last but not least, it is crucial not to fall into the trap of possible tax scam calls or emails. The IRS never calls to request your credit card number or demand immediate payment. Make sure to take time and carefully scrutinize emails and calls received concerning personal information.
What should you do if you have already fallen victim to identity theft?
If you are contacted by the IRS and think you are possibly an identity theft victim, you need to take action to clean up your records. At Manay CPA, we assist clients who have been victimized by ID theft and help with their tax filing processes. To request advice and discuss the steps you need to take, call us at 404-900-1040 or schedule an appointment with one of our tax experts.