It's Tax Fraud Season
- January 25, 2017 /
- Posted in:
- Latest News
Three Simple Tips To Protect Your Identity
Filing your income tax return can be stressful, without the added concern of having your return stolen right out from under you. However, it happens! Over the past few years, the IRS has paid out billions in fraudulent returns, and delayed the legitimate returns of millions more.
Fraudsters are now busy looking for easy prey this tax season…don’t let it be you! Below are a few simple tips to keep your identity right where it belongs, with you!
- IRS Will Not Call Or Send Emails To Discuss Your Personal Tax Filing, Period. The IRS’s first line of communication will always be via the US Mail. Don’t be duped by an official looking email or a telephone call from an IRS officer if you haven’t contacted them first. Scammers are known to deceive innocent taxpayers with scare tactics and threatening calls. For more information, consult the IRS Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts webpage at www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts.
- File Early. Don’t give fraudsters the opportunity to file on your behalf. The longer you delay the filing of your return, the greater the chance a false return will already be filed under your social security number—delaying your return up to 18 weeks or more! Gather all your receipts, etc. and be ready to file as soon as your W-2 and other tax records become available.
- Safeguard Your Electronic Filing/Data. Your personal information is being transmitted quite a bit this time of year—from employers and financial organizations to electronic filing of your own tax return. Be sure you are using secured websites when sending and receiving this information. And if you use an app that allows you to send a picture of your W-2, don’t forget to delete the photo from your phone!
By keeping these simple tips in mind now, you increase your chances of thwarting an identity thief from making you their next victim. However, additional steps can be taken to proactively protect your identity, including subscribing to SHERPA® Identity Protection services. And, should your identity be compromised, SHERPA® will be there with full-service restoration services that include:
- Support from a certified identity theft restoration specialist
- Eliminates out-of-pocket expenses with Identity Theft Protection insurance at no charge, and with no deductible
- Reduces time and effort on your behalf
Learn more about the identity protection services available through Westmoreland Community and SHERPA®.