Identity theft - Criminals have been using other people’s personal information (Social Security numbers, names, addresses, birth dates, etc.) to obtain money or credit for many years. Recently, scammers have also been filing false tax returns. The IRS has implemented measures that appear to be effective.
Regardless of the progress that has been made, the IRS cautioned, “Taxpayers need to watch out for identity theft especially around tax time. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number. Though the agency is making progress on this front, taxpayers still need to be extremely cautious and do everything they can to avoid being victimized.”
If you discover someone has filed a tax return using your personal data, Intuit.com advises you complete IRS Form 14039 and mail it to the IRS.
Being wary can help protect against scammers, but criminals may find a way to capture your personal information regardless of any precautions you take.
Credit Freeze - If you worry your data may have been comprised, the Federal Trade Commission suggests considering a credit freeze, which lets you restrict access to your credit report and makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. You’ll still be able to open new accounts or allow credit checks by prospective employers or landlords, but you’ll need to specifically unfreeze your account for that purpose.
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The information provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to sell or an offer to buy securities, investment products or investment advisory services. All information, views, opinions, and estimates are subject to change or correction without notice. Nothing contained herein constitutes financial, legal, tax, or other advice. These opinions may not fit to your financial status, risk, and return preferences.