Blog & News
Signs of Tax Identity Theft
Rob Siegmann MBA
Thursday, February 22, 2018
numerous high profile data breaches last year at firms such as Equifax, the
idea of someone stealing your personal information and identity is not only
scary, but more of a reality to many people.
During tax season, it's an even greater threat. According to the U.S. Federal Trade
Commission, tax identity theft (also known as "tax refund fraud") is
a lucrative and growing problem for many U.S. taxpayers. Unfortunately, you don't know you're a victim
of tax identity theft until it has already happened. Here's a few tips to help
you avoid tax refund fraud.
signs you're a victim: The most obvious sign that you're a victim is when
you're notified that a tax return has already been filed with your Social
Security number. If you e-file, you'll
know it has happened if your return is rejected; if you file a paper return, you'll receive a
letter from the IRS saying a return has already been filed using your Social
Security number. Another troubling sign is if the IRS mails you a notice to
increase your earned income to more than you actually reported. In this case,
it could mean someone used your Social Security number to get a job.
to do: If you realize one of these warning signs that points to
being a victim, you should file IRS Form 14039
("Identity Theft Affidavit") to alert the IRS of the
situation. You still need to pay your taxes and file your return, even if you must
do so by paper.
addition, you should file a report with your local police, file a complaint
with the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/complaint), and contact
the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union) to place a
fraud alert on your accounts.
Equifax - 888-766-0008
Experian - 888-397-3742
Transunion - 888-909-8872
How to better protect yourself: One of the best ways to prevent tax identity fraud is to
file your tax return as soon as you possibly can, no matter if you’re expecting
a refund or if you owe money. This way,
if you've already filed a return, it means a fraudulent return is unable to be filed in its
place. Also, be vigilant to always
protect your Social Security number. Don't carry your card with you. Just because a business asks for your number
doesn’t mean you must give it – only offer if it’s mandatory.
Total Wealth Planning, our goal is to enrich lives through financial
guidance. Sometimes, this means to not
only grow and protect your money, but also offer holistic guidance for
protecting your identity and making your tax filing a bit easier. This tax season, use these tips to be on the
lookout for anything suspicious. And if
you do become a victim, be sure to act quickly.