Good reminders on Tax-Related Identity Theft from Mary Amberg, the Seattle Police Department’s Crime Prevention Coordinator:
Tax-Related Identity theft is an important crime to be aware of during tax season. An identity thief may use your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Contact the IRS if they send you a notice saying their records show:
- you were paid by an employer you don’t know
- more than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number
Then, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft.
A few things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim are:
- File your tax return as soon as you can!!! If someone uses your SSN to file for a tax refund before you do, the IRS might think you already filed and got your refund.
- Always protect your social security number of Medicare number. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card. Do not give out the number unless you have to, and always ask why it is needed and how it will be stored.
- Research your tax preparer. Protect your personal data and make sure your tax records are secure.
- Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use strong passwords. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
- It has always been recommended to use a cross shredder for disposal any unwanted mail, bank statements, old unneeded tax documents, etc.
- Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies and even the IRS. An unexpected notice or letter from the IRS could alert you that someone else is using your SSN, however, the IRS doesn’t start contact with a taxpayer by sending an email, text or social media message that asks for personal or financial information. If you get an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IRS uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to make sure your filing is accurate and complete, and that you get any refund you are due. Identity theft can affect how your tax return is processed.
For more information, you can go to https://www.identitytheft.gov/ or https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0029-tax-identity-theft-awareness-week