LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
Tax Identity Theft Is Real: How to Protect Yourself
PAM RILEY, TAX & CLIENT ACCOUNTING SERVICES DIRECTOR
Here are other steps you can take:
- File early.
- Opt for direct deposit of your refund. Don’t risk having someone steal your check from your mailbox or re-route a paper payment.
- Filing offline? If you’re carrying tax-related papers around with you, be sure they stay in your possession. Don’t leave them in your car or on your desk at work.
- This has been said many times, but it bears repeating: The IRS will not send you an email requesting personal information. The agency generally contacts taxpayers through the U.S. Mail. Don’t fall prey to this email phishing scam.
- Neither will the IRS call you and demand payment, threatening action against you if you don’t comply. Another scam.
- Don’t give out your Social Security number without confirming the identity of the party requesting it and learning why it’s needed.
- Consider adjusting your withholdings so you don’t receive a large refund in the first place.
- Never carry your Social Security card around with you. Keep it in a lockbox at home.
- If you’re preparing your return on your desktop or mobile device, find out what you can about the publisher’s security protocols. Make sure your computer’s browser and antivirus/anti-malware software are updated.
- You’d be surprised how many people still use PASSWORD1 as their password. Make sure yours is a good, strong one.
If You’re HitRemember, too, that once they have your Social Security number and other personal information, identity thieves can move on to other crimes, like opening credit cards and applying for government benefits. So, take swift action if you learn you’ve been a victim. Complete IRS Form 14039, and respond immediately to correspondence from the agency. Contact credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records, and let your other financial institutions know what’s going on. File a report with the FTC. Recovering from identity theft can be a lengthy, stressful process. Contact us if you need expert help with this or any other area of tax preparation and planning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PAM RILEY + TAX & CAS DIRECTOR
Pam Riley is a Tax & Client Accounting Services Director at Lutz with over 20 years of experience. Her primary focus is delivering tax and client accounting services to closely held businesses, entrepreneurial and start-up companies.
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member
- Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
- Certified Public Accountant
- BSBA, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
- Memorial Community Health, Inc., Board Member
- Christian Education Committee, Past Member
- Aurora United Methodist Church, Finance Committee, Past Member
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