Ok, this is NOT a myth. These steps come verbatum from the ever-helpful IRS.
RS Security Awareness Tax Tip Number 3, December 7, 2015 Español
The theft of your identity, especially personal information such as your name, Social Security number, address and children’s names, can be traumatic and frustrating. In this online era, it’s important to always be on guard.
The IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and the tax industry to make sure you understand the dangers to your personal and financial data. Taxes. Security. Together. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference.
Here are seven steps you can make part of your routine to protect your tax and financial information:
- Read your credit card and banking statements carefully and often – watch for even the smallest charge that appears suspicious. (Neither your credit card nor bank – or the IRS – will send you emails asking for sensitive personal and financial information such as asking you to update your account.) I would add that it pays to turn on notifications on your credit cards, especially for “credit card absent” charges.
- Review and respond to all notices and correspondence from the Internal Revenue Service. Warning signs of tax-related identity theft can include IRS notices about tax returns you did not file, income you did not receive or employers you’ve never heard of or where you’ve never worked.
- Review each of your three credit reports at least once a year. Visit annualcreditreport.com to get your free reports.
- Review your annual Social Security income statement for excessive income reported. You can sign up for an electronic account at www.SSA.gov. It’s also important to check for zero earnings years when you did in fact receive wages. That means your employer failed to report, and pay, payroll taxes.
- Read your health insurance statements; look for claims you never filed or care you never received. And you might also contest charges that you feel are excessive.
- Shred any documents with personal and financial information. Never toss documents with your personally identifiable information, especially your social security number, in the trash. Check my Event Schedule at www.garyduell.com for our annual Document Shredding and Identity Protection event. The next one is this coming May.
- If you receive any routine federal deposit such as Social Security Administrator or Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, you probably receive those deposits electronically. You can use the same direct deposit process for your federal and state tax refund. IRS direct deposit is safe and secure and places your tax refund directly into the financial account of your choice. Even though a physical check may feel more secure, it isn’t!
To learn additional steps you can take to protect your personal and financial data, visit Taxes. Security. Together. You also can read Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
Additional IRS Resources:
- IRS Commissioner Koskinen’s Statement on the Security Summit Group Public Awareness Campaign
- Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft
- Publication 5027, Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers
- www.irs.gov/identitytheft — Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance
- IR-2015-129, IRS, States and Tax Industry Announce New Steps to Help Public to Protect Personal Tax Data
- Fact Sheet 2015-23, IRS, States and Industry Partners Provide Update on Collaborative Fight Against Tax-Related Identity Theft
- IRS and Partner Statements on the October 2015 Security Summit Meeting
IRS YouTube Videos:
- Taxes. Security. Together. – English
- IRS Efforts On Identity Theft – English| Spanish| ASL
- IRS Identity Theft FAQ: First Steps for Victims – English | Spanish | ASL
- IRS Identity Theft FAQ: Going After The Bad Guys – English | Spanish | ASL
- IRS Efforts on Identity Theft – English | Spanish
- IRS Identity Theft FAQ: First Steps for Victims – English | Spanish
- IRS Identity Theft FAQ: Going After The Bad Guys – English | Spanish
Your Constructive Comments are Welcome!