How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft During Tax Season
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
Approximately 155 million tax forms are filed annually. People need to understand that thieves are inventing new ways to steal identities each and every day. And since tax time is a key period when we see a spike in identity theft, it’s crucial that we get the word out now and educate people about the latest scams.
File Early. It seems crazy to think that someone would actually file taxes in your name, but it’s being done. Once they get a hold of a few W2’s or other tax related documents that give them an idea of what your tax return will be, they being the process of filing in your name and reap your return. File before they do.
Secure Your Mail. Mail is stolen every day. Tax forms have social security numbers. When mailing your taxes don’t put them in your mail box with the red-flag up. Use a secure mailbox at the post-office or a big blue box.
Tax Preparer Scams. Reports of tax preparers telling clients they must pay back stimulus payments and then pocketing the money is last years scam coming back. Not all professional tax preparers have your best interest at heart. Make sure you do research and choose your tax preparer wisely.
Late Payment Scam. As people fall behind on their taxes, lists are created and available either internally or printed in the local paper as public record. These lists can fall into the wrong hands and thieves call unassuming people to collect.
Internet Phishing Scams. The IRS doesn’t send emails. Phony IRS e-mails that try to lure tax payers into giving out personal information are a common scam. This scam is generally used as a means to convince individuals to provide personal or financial information that enables the perpetrators to commit credit card, bank fraud or other forms of identity theft.
Protect your PC. Whether or not you are filing online it is essential that your PC is secured. All the basics include making sure you have updated anti-virus, a two way firewall, spyware removal software run regularly, and be sure to protect your wireless internet connection with a network key.
Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Tax Scams on Fox News
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