Identity thieves could use your Social Security number to steal your tax refund or get a job.
This week marks Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, so use the resources from the Federal Trade Commission to learn how to protect yourself.
There will be events throughout the week — including a webinar on Jan. 15 and a Twitter chat on Jan. 16 — to help you learn more.
It’s not your imagination. If you’re a senior who sniffs thievery everywhere, there’s good reason. Seniors are one of scammers’ top targets.
One reason: thieves go where the money is. They know many seniors have nest eggs, paid-off mortgages and pensions.
A scammer may lurk in your financial advisor, a caregiver or the stranger behind an unsolicited phone call, e-mail or computer pop-up window. Learn how to outwit the thieves with these resources:
Identity thieves steal your personal information to commit fraud. They can damage your credit status and make it difficult to restore your good name.
Visit our Prevent and Report Identity Theft page for tips on reducing your risk of becoming a victim.
Child identity theft is a common problem. Find out how you can protect your kids.
Scammers can use the sensitive personal information in your tax return to steal your identity and even take your tax refund. Here are some tips to minimize your risk:
- Make sure that anyone helping to prepare your taxes is trustworthy.
- File taxes early in the tax season to reduce the window of time in which a thief could fraudulently file under your Social Security number.
- If filing electronically, only submit forms through a secure Internet connection.
- If filing by mail, go to the post office directly to mail the envelope.
- Do not respond to email messages asking for your personal information that claim to be from the IRS. If the IRS needs to contact you, it will do so by mail.
An unexpected message from the IRS could be a tip off that an identity thief is misusing your Social Security number. Contact the IRS if you receive a notice that:
- More than one tax return was filed in your name
- IRS records show you were paid by an employer you don’t know
If you get such a message from the IRS or suspect that someone has stolen your Social Security number, call the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
Learn more about protecting yourself from tax-related identity theft.