TAX-RELATED Identity Theft can happen to anyone – how to protect yourself.
Tens of thousands of Americans fall victim to tax identity theft every year.
And while it’s less common than other forms of identity theft, it’s no less powerful.
What is tax identity theft?
This type of fraudulent activity refers to someone using your personal information, including your social security number (SSN), to file a tax return.
And once a person has your SSN, they could also do a lot more than just request a fraudulent refund.
They are also able to collect benefits and income, commit crimes, make purchases, set up websites and buy homes, all on your behalf.
How does tax identity theft work?
Identity thieves typically file fraudulent tax returns early in the season.
Then, according to Experian, they get tax refunds electronically deposited into their accounts or have the refunds mailed to them to steal the physical checks.
How do I know if I’m affected?
One way to find out if you’ve been a victim of tax identity theft is to try to file a tax return.
If the IRS denies your return, it could be because their system has marked it as a duplicate, meaning someone else has filed your information.
Luckily, once you sort out the issue with the government, you can still file taxes and get your refund.
Another way to tell if your information has been stolen is if you receive a letter from the IRS about a tax return that you didn’t file.
How can I protect myself?
Beginning in 2021, the IRS will allow anyone to request an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) to protect your electronic or paper tax forms.
Taxpayers are advised to use a PIN and never share it – the IRS will automatically reject tax returns that include your information but do not enter the correct PIN.
Taxpayers can also block or freeze their credit reports to prevent identity thieves from using their information to open new credit accounts.
In addition, filers have the option to sign up for identity theft protection programs that can alert them if their information is compromised.
If you think someone is using your social security number to get your tax refund or anything else, contact the IRS online or call 1-800-908-4490.
https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5574914/american-tax-info-cyber-theft/ Every American Warned About “Cyberstealing Tax Information” — Here’s What You Need To Do