Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a taxpayer's stolen personal information, such as a Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a false refund. Thieves are actively working to steal taxpayer information and identities, and everyone should do everything they can to prevent identity theft.
Here are six ways to help taxpayers protect themselves against identity theft:
1. Always use security software. This software should have firewall and anti-virus protections.
2. Use strong, unique passwords. They should also consider using a password manager.
3. Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls, and texts from thieves. These scammers pose as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies, and even the IRS.
4. Don't click on links in unsolicited emails or messages from unknown senders. People shouldn't click on links or download attachments from emails that seem suspicious, even if they appear to be from senders they know.
5. Protect personal information and that of any dependents. For example, people shouldn't routinely carry around their Social Security cards. They should also make sure tax records are secure.
6. Get an Identity Protection PIN. The Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and the IRS that helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using a taxpayer's personally identifiable information.
Please call the office if you have any concerns about taxpayer ID theft.
Mr. Maker is a certified Public Accountant and serving the South Asian community since 1993.
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