Avoid Identity Theft With These Helpful Tips

Identity theft is considered to be the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person’s private identifying information, usually for financial gain. In a tax-related identity theft situation, someone uses another person’s stolen Social Security number or Employer Identification Number to file a tax return to receive a fraudulent refund.  Most taxpayers don’t realize they have been a victim of identity theft until they file their tax returns and are then notified that someone has already used their social security number to file.

Although various government agencies, along with the IRS, have taken strategic measures to prevent and detect identity theft, there is still a large possibility that as a taxpayer someone could still take your identity prior to filing for your next tax return. Here are some ways to protect yourself against identity theft:
  1. Protect Your Personal & Financial Records – It is recommended that taxpayers not carry their Social Security card in their wallet or purse, but to only provide the number when necessary. Also utilize anti-spam or anti-virus software to protect personal information stored on computers and store personal documents in a small safe. Routinely change the passwords of your online accounts as well.
  1. Don’t Get Caught Up in Scams – Banks, credit card companies and IRS representatives are often impersonated by scammers attempting to steal personal information. Try your best to discern and avoid any fake communications. Remember, an IRS representative will not contact you threatening a lawsuit, arrest or demand any type of immediate payment.
  1. Report Tax-Related Identity Theft – If you find yourself being a victim of identity theft and unable to e-file your return due to your social security number already being used, this is what you should do:
    1. File your return by paper and pay any taxes owed. Also file a IRS Form 14039 (Identity Theft Affidavit).
    2. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission
    3. Contact the Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov and search “Identity Theft” in the search box for more info.
    4. Contact financial institutions to report the alleged identity theft.
    5. Contact a credit bureau to have a fraud alert or credit freeze occur on the affected account.
  2. Letters from the IRS – Taxpayers may receive a letter from the IRS if the IRS identifies a suspicious tax return that was filed with the taxpayer’s stolen social security number. This letter will ask them to verify their identity by calling a special numbers or visiting an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.
  3. IP Pin – Taxpayers that are confirmed ID theft victims may have an “IP Pin” issued to them by the IRS. This pin is a unique six-digit number that the taxpayer will use to e-file their return. A new pin will be issued to the taxpayer each year to file with.
  1. Report Any Suspicious Activity – If you suspect or know of anyone that is committing tax fraud you can report them by clicking here.
Safety as a taxpayer is of utmost importance to us at ExpressExtension. To avoid scammers or even filing your annual return late, simply file a quick and easy extension with ExpressExtension and receive extra time to get those taxes filed. We’re always here to help so feel free to give us a call at 803.514.5155 or email us at [email protected] for any assistance you may need.

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