Identity Theft During Tax Season Is On The Rise
Millions of Americans love tax season due to the lump sum they get back after filing taxes. However, in 2014 about 33% of people were impacted by identity theft during tax season, this is according to the Federal Trade Commission. This is an ever growing issue and it is important to protect and keep your documents organized.
How to keep your documents safe during tax season.
If you no longer need certain documents, shred them. Don’t just rip them in half or throw them away, get a good cross-cut shredder and turn those documents into confetti.
If you do your taxes at home on your computer, make sure you have a good firewall to protect from having unwanted visitors hack into your computer.
Even if your paperwork is several years old make sure to keep old receipts and tax returns in a safe place. Identity thieves can still use your old information.
Do not put your tax returns or other sensitive information in your out-going mail. Take them directly to the post office and drop them off inside. Do not drop them off outside.
Be careful on who you have prepare your taxes. Make sure they are a part of a reputable company.
How do you know if you’ve been a victim of tax identification theft?
You try to file electronically, but the IRS rejects your return because your social security number is attached to a tax return that has been filed.
You receive an IRS letter stating that one or more of your tax returns have been filed with you social security number.
You receive a balance due notice, refund offset notice or you have collection actions taken against you for a tax year when you didn’t file a return or receive a refund.
You receive an IRS notice showing you received wages from somewhere you never worked.
If you have fallen victim of identity theft here are a few steps you should do.
Fill out an IRS Form 14039 – Identity Theft Affidavit.
Print a paper copy of your tax return.
Make a clear and legible photocopy of at least one document to verify your identity. You can use a driver’s license, passport, social security card or other valid U.S. federal or state government issued identification.
Submit your tax return, Form 14039, and legible photocopy of your identification to the IRS at the appropriate address for your state.
This year the IRS has added extra security question and password requirements to ensure that your e-filing is safer this year. Please note that the IRS does not and will not call, text or contact you through social media. If they need more information from you, the IRS will send you a letter in the mail.