Tax season is underway and that means an uptick in tax-related scams. One particularly pernicious form of fraud is tax identity theft. Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses sensitive personal information (like your Social Security number) and files a fraudulent tax return in your name to collect a refund. According to recent statistics, scammers filed over 5 million returns in 2013 using stolen information, costing the IRS $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds.[i]
Unfortunately, filing a false tax return isn’t difficult. All you need is a name, Social Security number (SSN), and date of birth (usually stolen from sources outside the IRS). Most victims don’t realize anything is amiss until they file their taxes and receive notification that a return has already been filed in their name. Fortunately, there are some common-sense steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Identity Theft Warning Signs
What to Do if Your Identity Has Been Stolen
If you have been the victim of identity theft (i.e. scammers may have used your SSN or other confidential information to commit fraud), it’s important to act quickly to avoid damage to your financial life. Here’s what to do:
Notify the Social Security Administration of the possible theft of your SSN by calling the fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Footnotes, disclosures, and sources:
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.