It’s that time of the year for Big Money, Taxes & Identity Theft Prevention
Here are 4 Things to Know About Taxes and Identity Theft Prevention. In 2014, almost 18 million people in the U.S. were victims of identity theft. From the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), two-thirds suffered direct financial losses.
During tax season, your personal information is particularly vulnerable. After all, your Social Security number (SSN) is a lot of forms. It is on W-2 forms and your tax return. It is also on financial documents sent through the mail and given to accountants. If it has to do with taxes, it is definitely used when completing your annual IRS rituals. So this is a good time of the year to be especially vigilant.
Identify Theft Prevention Must-Knows
To help, here are four things you should know about identity theft prevention. Tips range from what thieves do to how you can help protect yourself.
- Thieves go beyond opening new accounts — they can (and will) file “your” taxes. Someone with access to your data could file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund under your name. You may not know until you go to file your own return and it comes back rejected. If it happens, call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.
- Scammers will try to reel you in. Ever get a call or email from someone asking you to verify your account information or SSN? Legitimate organizations, especially the IRS, will not do that. If there is a problem with your tax return, the IRS will contact you by mail.
- Technology can help. If you send tax forms or other sensitive documents via email, password-protect them. Yes, security software helps keep your data safe. Password generators help create login credentials that are not easy for a thief to figure out. For your printed documents, such as tax records, store them in a locked desk or filing cabinet. Do not send them through the mail unless it is certified.
- Reporting the crime is a must. Ninety percent of identity-theft victims do not alert the police, says BJS. But you should. Police reports prove to financial institutions and businesses that someone stole your identity. It allows you to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report. You get inaccurate information removed. It stops debt collectors from reporting fraudulent accounts and more. Once criminals have your information, they may use it to perpetuate many types of fraud.
Identify Theft Insurance
Protecting your identity is a year-round mindset. It is not just something to do during tax season. For more tips, visit IdentityTheft.gov. Want more information on identity Theft Insurance? It can be added to your home insurance policy. Give us a call or email us for more information.