Jan 28 Tax Identity Theft
Identity theft is more common than you think, especially during tax season when many are filing their taxes through online programs. A recent Harris Poll found that nearly 60 million Americans were affected by tax identity theft last year and it has been on a continued rise for the past 10 years.
Tax season is a prime time for criminals to take advantage of the millions of people entering their personal information online. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Unfortunately, you might not find out about it until you’re ready to file and find that your return has already been filed or the IRS notifies you that you have unclaimed wages from an employer you never worked for.
Anyone can be a victim of tax identity theft. It’s important to become aware of steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Read more below:
Be Cautious with Email
This is where hackers will turn to capture your personal information. Do not click on links or download attachments from any emails claiming to be the IRS. The IRS will never request personal information through an unsolicited email. Got any emails claiming they can offer a faster and larger refund if you file with them? Those emails are not true. Average refund times are the same no matter where you file, three weeks when filing online and six weeks for mailed returns.
Use Strong Passwords
Make sure to use and create strong passwords for every account you create, especially if filing your taxes online. This can be done by using different combinations of numbers, letters, symbols, and a mixture of upper and lowercase letters. Following those simple guidelines will make it harder for hackers to get your passwords and getting their hands on your information.
Know the Warning Signs
When filling out your tax returns or any other information, make sure to look over all entered information carefully, making sure everything is correct. If something doesn’t match up, you might have been subject to identity theft. Always keep track of your social security number using free services or by retrieving your free yearly credit report. Also make sure to look over medical files, insurance claims, and other statements for signs of fraud.
It’s not completely possible to eliminate your risk of identity theft. Following these few pieces of advice will help you prepare and be aware of what tax identity theft may look like. For more information about identity fraud and how Gilbert’s Risk Solutions can help lower your risk and offer protection from it, call our offices and speak with one of our Personal Risk Advisors.