How to protect yourself from tax refund fraud!

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It’s that time of year again, tax return season. Over the next few months, fraudsters will be looking to steal tax refunds from thousands of people– don’t let it happen to you!

Fraudsters can acquire personally identifying information such as Social Security Numbers or Tax Identification Numbers through phishing emails and phone calls or hacked tax filing systems. The IRS offers ways to educate tax payers on ways to prevent fraud:

  • File for your tax refund as soon as you have the necessary documents. Once the IRS receives a return with a Social Security Number, it rejects any duplicate requests.
  • Change your passwords every year on any accounts you use to file. This is also a good practice for any sensitive accounts you maintain online.
  • Monitor your refund for suspicious activity. If more than one tax return was filed using your SSN, you owe additional taxes you were not expecting, or IRS records show you had a higher income, or income from an employer you do not recognize, these may be red flags that your tax refund is being targeted.

If you find you have fallen victim to tax refund fraud, take the following steps:

  1. File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
  2. Contact your financial institutions and close any accounts or loans opened without your permission.
  3. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit:
    • Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 1-800-766-0008
    • Experian, www.Experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
    • TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 1-800-680-7289

For more information on how to protect your tax data, visit irs.gov.

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