Your Next Worry: Fake Tax Returns

Fake Tax Returns

Your Next Worry: Fake Tax Returns

By Smith & Smith & Ruiz CPA's

You might be a victim of identity theft and there could be someone who might use your social security number and file a tax return in your name and receive your refunds from IRS. You might be unaware of the entire fraud unless you file a return yourself and you receive a Notice from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stating that “ More than one return for you was filed and the IRS has already issued a refund in your name.” This is what is termed as Tax-Refund Theft. You may also receive a letter from IRS regarding the suspicious return.

Innocent taxpayers are victimized because their refunds are delayed. Here are some tips to protect you from becoming a victim, and steps to take if you think someone may have filed a tax return using your name:

Keep Your Personal Computer Secure: There are several antivirus software available for download on the internet and those help in keeping all the data in your system intact and secure. The operating systems in latest computers provide firewalls which will prevent unauthorized access from another network.

Don’t Reveal Personal Information Easily: Disclosing your personal details over emails or phone might not be the correct thing to do. Reveal it only if you are sure of the person who you will be sending all the information.

Don’t Put Everything Up on Social Media: Social media has certainly made our lives easier in many ways, but it is not good to put everything up on it. So, be careful about what you post on your social media handles because someone might be there to keep a tab on you.

Be Sure Before Providing Your SSN or ITIN Number: You should not give away your Social Security number or ITIN if any business asks you for it. First, figure out what is the need for this information and remember not to disclose it if it’s a part of the application process.

Use a Strong Password for Your Financial Sites: Doing this will also safeguard your personal details. Therefore, handle your tax or brokerage accounts with care.

Beware of Phishing Emails: There could be some emails in your inbox which you might think is sent by IRS or your bank but those might be online scams. Beware of such emails and ignore them if they are sent to you.

If your tax records are not currently affected by identity theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost or stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity or credit report, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 (Mon. – Fri., 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. local time; Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).

Related Articles