5 Tips for Preventing Tax Identity Theft

Tax season is stressful—but what makes it worse? Having to worry about someone stealing your identity and claiming your refund. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission promotes Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. From January 25-29, 2021, the FTC and its partners will educate taxpayers about safeguarding their personal information. It’s an important goal, so we’ve jumped in to help.

 

Check out our tips for paying your taxes while maintaining security.

 

Vet your tax preparer.

 

The person who does your taxes has access to a wealth of your sensitive data, so make sure he or she is trustworthy. You might even want to verify their CPA status and ask to see their Preparer Tax Identification Number.

 

Get it done early.

 

Make it a habit to file your taxes as early as possible. Not only will this practice take a load off your mind, but it will also help thwart tax identity theft. Someone can’t submit fraudulent paperwork in your name if you’ve already filed.

 

Guard your information.

 

Stay alert year-round for scams designed to extract personal details such as your social security number and birth date. Be wary when giving your information over the phone, and never divulge it via email or text. Also, confirm every request for tax info that you receive by mail. Just call the IRS toll-free number: 800-829-1040.

 

Finally, don’t forget to shred documents containing sensitive details.

 

Be smart about filing.

 

Remember that tax identity theft can happen while you’re in the process of filing. If you’re submitting your paperwork online, do it only through a secure connection. If you file by mail, then send it directly from the post office. Don’t leave papers in your mailbox so thieves can walk by and take them.

 

Know what the IRS does NOT do.

 

According to irs.gov, it will never:

Initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text, or social media to request personal or financial information

Call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests

Call, email, or text to request taxpayers’ Identity Protection PINs

 

Are you still feeling uneasy about the safety of your information? Then make sure your home insurance policy covers tax identity theft. You’ll be able to breathe easy, knowing that you can make your payment safely.

 

For more information, take a look at these resources:

Taxpayer Guide to Identify Theft

FTC Feature: Tax Identity Theft Awareness

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week Feature