You may be excited about a tax refund, but be sure your identity is protected

Today is the exciting IRS Tax filing deadline, and while you may be focused on getting your taxes filed, you also need to be aware of possible threats for identity theft during this season. According to the testimony of The Honorable J. Russell George Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, as of December 31, 2012, the IRS identified almost 1.8 million incidents of identity theft affecting tax administration during 2012. This is an increase from more than 1 million in 2011.

One possible occurrence of fraud is when you are told that you have already filed or that your information doesn’t match IRS records when you try to file. A person uses your social security number and other personal information to file as you, providing false numbers with an address where they can collect the refund. If this happens, be sure to alert the IRS immediately.This happened to a woman in Utah recently, and this article tells her story as well as provides some tips to stay protected:

  • Look at your credit report at least once a year. If you see something suspicious, investigate and report it.
  • Be sure you are going to a trusted facility to prepare your taxes.

Other possible scams

Scam: Emails sent to you can pose as the IRS stating that you forgot to list your social security number or other personal information and request immediate action.

Scam: Email telling you that your “fax” or return didn’t go through, and you need to re-send it to the address listed.

What to do: Do not reply to either email with information. Contact your trusted contact (accountant, personal contact at the IRS) and alert them of the message you received. If there is missing information, they can tell you how to appropriately disclose it.