Don’t Fall Victim to Tax Identity Theft, Check Out Tips from Your BBB

  
     
January 25, 2017

tax formsAs we head into tax season it is important to prepare your documents for filing and be alert to red flags of fraudulent practices and possibility of tax identity theft. Tax ID theft is when a tax return is fraudulently filed using another person’s information—like a social security number—to get a refund from the IRS or claim a dependent. Better Business Bureau of Central New England advises consumers to educate themselves on this common form of identity theft and has tips to help you spot the red flags.

“You may not be aware of an issue until you have been contacted by the IRS. Which makes this scheme hard to detect,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “It’s always good practice to keep your personal information secure and know that there are resources available if you think you are a victim of this type of identity theft.” Tax identity theft victims typically find out about the crime when they receive a letter from the IRS stating more than one tax return was filed in their name. BBB has tips to help you avoid falling victim to this crime:

  • File your tax return early in the tax season, if you can.
  • Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
  • Shred copies of your tax return, drafts, or calculation sheets you no longer need.
  • Respond to all postal mail from the IRS as soon as possible. Know the IRS won’t contact you by email, text, or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will contact you by mail.
  • Don’t give out your Social Security number (SSN) unless necessary.
  • Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information. You can check a BBB Business Review easily online or by calling 866-566-9222.
  • If your SSN has been compromised, contact the IRS ID Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com to make sure no other accounts have been opened in your name.

If you receive a letter from the IRS, don’t panic. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.