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When its Tax Time, Protect Your Identity

Tax time comes around every year, and though you technically have until April 15th each year, you should file earlier. This can help you prevent identity theft.

How Filing Your Taxes Early Protects Your Identity

Tax time

There are two ways that fraudsters steal identities at tax time. First, they will use stolen personal information to file taxes, but plug in their mailing address to take your refund.

In a less common scam, thieves use stolen personal information to apply for a job, then fail to pay their annual income taxes. You get stuck with the bill, and you wind up having to prove to the IRS that you weren’t the one skipping out on your tax burden.

In both cases, you might not be able to get a refund or even file your taxes. Thieves may also use your stolen information to get a loan, a credit card, or cash.

How Tax Time Thieves Access Your Information

Stolen personal information, including Federal ID numbers, gets sold on the Internet every day. You may think a data breach doesn’t matter if hackers don’t get access to your passwords, but your identifying information can be just as valuable, and you can find yourself facing serious trouble with the IRS if you don’t take action to protect yourself.

What Should You Do If Your Information Is Stolen?

If you are a victim of a tax refund or payroll scam, there are steps you need to take immediately:

  • Submit Letter 5071C to the IRS – This is a form that the IRS will send if your tax return looks suspicious.
  • Submit Form 14039 – This form alerts the IRS that you believe you are a potential victim of tax ID theft.
  • Ask for an Identity Protection PIN – The IRS will give you this number so that it can confirm your identity for your future tax returns.
  • Make a Report to the Federal Trade Commission – You also should file a report with the FTC by going to IdentityTheft.gov.
  • Contact the Tax Office in Your State – Your state’s tax office might have other recommendations based on your personal situation.

If you try to file your taxes electronically and get rejected, you should file a return by mail. Additionally, call the IRS Identity Protection Unit for assistance. An agent can help you start the process of taking care of the problem and ensuring your return is filed correctly.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

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