Beware! It’s that time of the year again! As you read this, criminals, fraudsters, and identity thieves could be working to file fraudulent tax returns in your name and steal your tax refund. ITS Information Assurance (IA) offers the following tips to help you protect yourself from identity theft and tax fraud:
- File your taxes as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of criminals filing under your name.
- Beware of phishing emails and phone scams. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels, nor do they call to demand immediate payment. And they never demand payment via gift card.
- Be suspicious of ads for tax filing services that promise you large or expedited tax refunds. These are often scams to steal your personal information.
Extra protection from the IRS
The IRS has expanded the Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program to all taxpayers who can properly verify their identities. An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your Social Security number. The IP PIN is known only to you and the IRS and helps verify your identity when you file your electronic or paper tax return. Visit the IRS website to get an IP PIN.