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Are you struggling to protect your identity and taxes? During tax season, there is a higher rate of scammers and identity thieves to phish for your personal information. There was a significant spike in fraudulent filed state and federal taxes last year, but fortunately, more companies have processes in place to handle these situations quickly. Below are some tips to help you protect yourself from potential theft.
- Only give your Social Security Number to businesses who require it, not just ask for it.
- Check your credit report every 12 months.
- Secure personal information in your home.
- Use firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, update security patches and change passwords for Internet accounts to protect your personal computers.
- Never give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.
Additional things to be aware of are:
- The IRS will never call your home without first mailing you a notice. If you receive a call that demands immediate payment, or using a specific payment method (such as an electronic check), hang up and report to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
- Be suspicious of mail that demands immediate payment by calling a certain phone number and giving bank account or credit card information. If it’s legitimately the IRS, they always give you the opportunity to dispute the claim.
- If you are ever unsure if a printed notice is actually from the IRS, call the agency’s toll-free number to confirm: (800) 829-1040.
- Never trust an email or text claiming to be from the IRS as the agency does not contact taxpayers through either communication methods.
- Scammers rely on scare tactics to get information. If you receive emails claiming to be the IRS informing you that your tax forms have been rejected or impending checking account deductions, ignore it.
- The official address of the IRS website is irs.gov. Use caution if the domain in the email or website ends in .com, .net, .org or other domain suffix.
- The IRS does not offer web-based products to the general public, if you encounter an ad for these products, avoid it.