Identity thieves sometimes use your personal information to file a tax return to claim a tax refund. Then, when you file your own tax return, the IRS will not accept it and will notify you that a return was already filed using your name and social security number.
How to avoid becoming an identity theft victim.
- Guard your personal information. Identity thieves can get your personal information in many ways. This includes stealing your wallet or purse, posing as someone who needs information about you, looking through your trash, or stealing information you provide to an unsecured website or in an unencrypted email.
- Watch out for IRS impersonators. Be aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or social media channels to request personal or financial information or notify people of an audit, refund or investigation. Scammers may also use phone calls, faxes, websites or even in-person contacts. If you’re suspicious that it’s not really the IRS contacting you, don’t respond.
- Protect information on your computer. While preparing your tax return, protect it with a strong password. Once you e-file the return, take it off your hard drive and store it on a CD or flash drive in a safe place, like a lock box or safe. If you use a tax preparer, ask how he or she will protect your information.
How to know if you are, or might be, a victim of identity theft. Your identity may have been stolen if the IRS notifies you that:
- You filed more than one tax return or someone has already filed using your information;
- You owe taxes for a year when you were not legally required to file and did not file; or
- You were paid wages from an employer where you did not work.
For details and more information from the IRS please visit: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection
Davis & Hodgdon Associates has been assisting businesses and individuals in the Burlington Vermont Metro area for more than 20 years. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call 802.878.1963 or email [email protected].