Tips for Preventing Tax Fraud And What to do if it Happens to You
What is Tax-related Identity Fraud?
Tax-related identity theft happens when a criminal uses your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to file a tax return in your name. Unfortunately, most people don’t even realize they are victims of tax fraud until it has already taken place. They file their taxes and the IRS rejects their return – someone with that name and Social Security number has already filed. They have walked away with your refund check and your PII, Social Security number, Date of Birth and Address.
Sound Alarming – In this past year, there have been $2.3 Billion dollars in Tax Fraud Schemes.
There is no way to guarantee that you won’t be a victim of tax fraud, however there are proactive steps you can take to protect yourself:
- File your taxes as early as possible.
- Follow these privacy guidelines whenever filing or using your Personally Identifiable Information:
- use secure software
- encrypt sensitive information
- use strong passwords
- use two-factor authentication
- It is important to know, the IRS does not call, email or text taxpayers. When the IRS needs to reach you, they will send you a letter.
- Use a tax preparer that you trust and has the proper credentials. A qualified tax preparer should have a Preparer Tax ID Number as well as professional credentials.
- Monitor your tax account, you can go to the IRS website at any time to see if anyone has filed a report in your name. Taxpayers can also register for an Identity Protection Pin (IP PIN). This is a six-digit number that prevents someone from filing a tax return using your Social Security Number. The IP PIN is known only to you and the IRS and helps verify your identity when you file your electronic or paper tax return.
What Do You Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft or Tax Fraud?
Enroll in a cyber wellness and privacy protection program. This industry is complex with many different providers and options to choose – they are not all the same. At this moment and when you are a victim, you do not have time to research programs and determine the best fit for your needs. Call or email KII Consulting, Inc. for the best in cyber wellness and privacy protection solutions for yourself and organization.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) recommends filing a complaint at identitytheft.gov. Victims will also need to either place a fraud alert or credit freeze with the credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Once the alert is activated with one bureau the other bureaus will be notified. A credit freeze will need to be placed with each credit bureau separately. Please click on consumer.ftc.gov to determine which option works best for you.
- Equifax.com 1-800-525-6285
- Experian.com 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion.com 1-800-680-7289
KII Consulting, Inc. works closely with clients as a trusted advisor and partner in customizing solutions that enhance engagement, retention, generate revenue, protection and peace of mind. Contact us today at [email protected] or call 1-800-201-5563 to learn more.