Tax season is here, and there’s no better time to reinforce the importance of protecting your personal information from identity theft. Did you know that it’s easier and more profitable for thieves to become you, run up large credit card bills and disappear than it is for them to steal your wallet or break into your home?
Identity thieves most commonly gain access to their victims’ personal information by posing as someone who needs information via phone call or email; by accessing information provided to an unsecured Internet site; by looking through trash for personal information; or by stealing a wallet or purse.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), impersonation schemes flourish during tax season, making it a time of increased venerability. That’s why the agency recently intensified its national crackdown on identity theft as part of a wider effort to protect taxpayers and prevent refund fraud.
The IRS offers the following tips to help you protect your personal information during tax season.
- Be aware that the IRS will not initiate contact by email or social media to request personal information.
- If you receive a paper letter or notice via mail claiming to be the IRS, but you suspect it is a scam, check the IRS phishing page at http://www.irs.gov/phishing.
- If stolen, your social security number can be used by another individual to obtain employment. Contact the IRS if you receive a letter indicating that you received wages from an employer that you don’t know.
- Choose a strong and unique password, especially when preparing your tax return.
A full list of identity protection resources is available on IRSs website atwww.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection-Tips.