Tax day means profits to tax scammers. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission reported that tax-related identity theft was one of the most common forms of identity fraud. For five consecutive years, tax fraud has been on the rise and at the top of the fraud complaint list. In addition, IRS impostor scam complaints in 2014 increased 24 times over the previous year.1
Unfortunately, there are a multitude of identity thieves who seek to profit from their scams by filing fraudulent tax returns. You may not know that these thieves are using your Social Security number to file a tax return until you attempt to file yourself. At that point, restoring your refunds and identity becomes a nightmare.
Protect yourself this tax season with these tips:
- Use Digital Caution: If you receive an email, text or a contact request via social media channels appearing to be from the IRS it is a phishing scam. Do not click on any links, or reply to the email. Forward the email to email@example.com for investigation and send suspicious texts to 202-552-1226. Delete the email or text immediately afterwards.
- Ask the Right Questions: A phone call appearing to be from the IRS could be a scam. An IRS agent will never demand immediate payment, require a specific payment method, ask for credit information over the phone, threaten to put you in jail, have you deported or take away your driver’s license. Don’t give the caller any information and collect the caller’s name, badge number, call back number, and caller ID. Call the IRS directly and verify if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate reason to contact you.
- Update Your Anti-Virus: Keep your computer’s anti-virus software up-to-date and password-protect sensitive documents saved on your computer to prevent misuse.
- Check Your Mail Frequently: An unlocked mailbox is an open invitation to thieves. Take mail containing sensitive information directly to the post office.
- Dispose of Old Documents: Use a cross-shredder to dispose of documents you no longer need.
Most importantly, if you’re enrolled in PrivacyArmor®, provided by InfoArmor, log in to your online account to access alerts regarding your identity or credit and be sure to activate all features to help protect your identity. In the unfortunate event you are a victim of identity, credit or tax fraud, a Privacy Advocate® will help remediate the fraud by handling the restoration process on your behalf.
Source: 1.Federal Trade Commission