How to protect yourself from identity theft

While identity theft affects millions each year, the IRS encourages Americans to take steps towards prevention.

The IRS provides eight tips on how to protect yourself against identity theft:

1. Taxes. Security. Together.

The IRS, the states and the tax industry need everyone’s help. The IRS launched the Taxes. Security. Together. awareness campaign in 2015 to inform people about ways to protect their personal, tax and financial data. Learn more at www.IRS.gov/TaxesSecurityTogether.

2. Protect Personal and Financial Records

Taxpayers should not carry their Social Security card in their wallet or purse. They should only provide their Social Security number if it’s necessary. Protect personal information at home and protect personal computers with anti-spam and anti-virus software. Routinely change passwords for online accounts.

3. Don’t Fall for Scams

Criminals often try to impersonate banks, credit card companies and even the IRS hoping to steal personal data. Learn to recognize and avoid those fake communications. Also, the IRS will not call a taxpayer threatening a lawsuit, arrest or to demand immediate payment. Beware of threatening phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS.

4. Report Tax-Related ID Theft

Here’s what taxpayers should do if they cannot e-file their return because someone already filed using their SSN:

  • File a tax return by paper and pay any taxes owed.
  • File an IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Print the form and mail or fax it according to the instructions. Include it with the paper tax return and/or attach a police report describing the theft if available.
  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant.
  • Contact Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov and type in “identity theft” in the search box.
  • Contact financial institutions to report the alleged identity theft.
  • Contact one of the three credit bureaus so they can place a fraud alert or credit freeze on the affected account.
  • Check with the applicable state tax agency to see if there are additional steps to take at the state level.

5. IRS Letters

If the IRS identifies a suspicious tax return with a taxpayer’s stolen SSN, that taxpayer may receive a letter asking them verify their identity by calling a special number or visiting an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

6. IP PIN

If a taxpayer is a confirmed ID theft victim, the IRS may issue them an IP PIN. The IP PIN is a unique six-digit number that the taxpayer uses to e-file their tax return. Each year, they will receive an IRS letter with a new IP PIN.

7. Report Suspicious Activity

If taxpayers suspect or know of an individual or business that is committing tax fraud, they can visit IRS.gov and follow the chart on How to Report Suspected Tax Fraud Activity.

8. Service Options

Information about tax-related identity theft is available online. The IRS has a special section on IRS.gov devoted to identity theft and information for victims to obtain assistance.

At Travis Credit Union, protecting your private information is a top priority. For more information on how you can protect yourself from falling a victim to fraud, visit www.traviscu.org/protection.

www.IRS.gov How You Can Protect Yourself

 


Source: IRS.gov