IRS data confirms over 100,000 American taxpayers were the victims of tax identity fraud in 2021. Being a victim of tax identity theft can make it difficult to get a refund when you’re due or cause the IRS to think you owe taxes when you do not. We’ve compiled a few tips to help safeguard your identity during tax season.
File Returns Early
The sooner you file your taxes the better. An identity thief who already has your information can use that extra time to file a fraudulent tax return in your name. When you have your pertinent documents, file as soon as possible.
Place a Credit Fraud Alert on Your Credit File
If you believe your personal information has been compromised, you can quickly put a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit reports. This ensures the proper legal entities are involved while you problem solve.
Protect Your Personal Identifying Information
There are elaborate ways that scammers try to steal your identity. Be skeptical of anyone asking you to disclose personal information unless you have initiated the contact. Safeguard your Social Security number and do not carry it on your person unless necessary.
Be Aware of Scams
Scammers use several outlets to attempt to collect sensitive personal information, including:
- Aggressive or urgent demands
- Threats of arrest and
- Demands for immediate payment via wire transfers, credit card or prepaid debit card
Thwart persons attempting to improperly use your personal information by following these online scam safety tips.
Choose a Trusted Tax Preparer
Did you know that most people do their taxes themselves? If you decide your taxes are too complicated and merit professional help, look for a certified professional or a certified public accountant. This provides an extra level of protection in the event there are any discrepancies regarding your returns.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft This Tax Season
The best step towards preventing tax identity theft is to be vigilant. Following the above steps provides additional safety measures that increase your chances of having a successful and issue-free filing year.
To learn more about identity theft and how to protect yourself, read our blog, ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name.