Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud and Identity Theft

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) begun accepting tax returns on Monday January 29, 2018. It’s time for hackers to increase fraudulent attacks like steal your identity, file fake tax return for you and collect your refund from IRS. Hackers are coming up with ingenious ways to commit tax fraud. All that is required for a scam to take place is a name, date of birth and Social Security number.

During the tax season, IRS is taking additional steps to protect taxpayers and help victims of identity theft or refund fraud. At the same time, it’s important to be more vigilant to ensure that you’re not next prey.

This tax season, follow security best practices to reduce your chances of identity theft/ tax return fraud.

  1. Keep your SSN private: It’s critical to protect your Social Security Card and give SSN only when it’s absolutely required. Mostly, tax scam involves stolen SSN to file a fraudulent tax return early in tax season. To avoid identity theft, secure your Social security card at home and don’t carry any document that has your SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification (ITIN) on it.
  1. Be vigilant: If someone calls or emails seeking for personal information and claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), don’t share your details. IRS requests information by mail only. These emails/ phone calls are most likely a scam.
  1. Research Tax preparer: Always check IRS credentials before hiring a tax preparer, also request their full name and tax certification documents for your reference.
  1. File taxes early: The sooner you file your tax returns, the less chances for a scammer to file it on your behalf. It’s crucial if you believe your personal information has already been compromised in earlier data breaches.
  1. Beware of Phishing: Phishing is the online scam that use official looking emails that seem to come from IRS or your bank, but they are from hackers seeking for your SSN, bank account information or passwords. Always be suspicious of these kinds of emails.
  1. Keep Financial information private: Don’t give personal information over the phone, on internet unless you know who you are sharing the information with.
  1. Keep computers updated: Always update your personal computers, laptops, smart phones with latest updates. Protect your devices by using firewalls, anti-virus and latest security patches etc. Use strong and unique passwords for different accounts.
  1. Shred your personal records: Consider shredding your tax documents, receipts, bank statements and any other document with your personal information once deemed unnecessary.
  1. Deterrent signs of identity theft: If you receive a notice from IRS on followings may indicate fraudulent activity:
  • Multiple tax return filed with your SSN;
  • You owe a balance for year you did not file a tax return or
  • IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer for whom you didn’t work

If you believe you’re a victim of identity theft:

  • Contact IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 for assistance
  • Fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039.
  • File a Complaint with Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-438-4338
  • File a report with local police station

CompCiti Business Solutions, Inc. is an IT Network and Security Company in New York. Since 1996, CompCiti has helped its clients in defending them from cyber-attacks. CompCiti has good Security credentials, can ensure your IT systems are protected and efficient. To find out more about our Managed IT and Security Services in New York, please contact us (212) 594-4374 for a free phone consultation and to find out how CompCiti can help you to protect your systems from any cyber threats.

References:  https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-tax-tips

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