Tax-related identity theft remains serious enough to earn a spot on the agency’s 2019 “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams. We encourage taxpayers to continue to be on the lookout for identity theft schemes, including email phising attempts. Many of these schemes peak during filing season.
Tax related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number of Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund.
Taxpayers should remember that identity thieves constantly strive to find a scheme that works. Once their ruse begins to fail as taxpayers become aware of their ploys, they change tactics. Taxpayers must remain vigilant to the various scams and schemes used for data thefts.
Security tips for taxpayers. Taxpayers should:
- Always use security software with firewall and antivirus protections. Make sure security software is turned on and can automatically update. Use STRONG passwords!
- Learn to recognize and avoid phising emails and threatening phone calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies and government organizations, including the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails. Invest in good anti-spyware and anti-malware software protection.
- Protect personal data. Don’t routinely carry a Social Security card. Make sure tax records are secure.
Reversing the damage caused by identity theft is often a frustrating and complex process for victims.