Identity theft is becoming all too common in today’s world, as it is a reality that many people will have to face in their lifetime. To go another step further, some people within this category will face one of the lesser known versions of theft – tax return identity theft. What exactly is it? What is the government doing to protect taxpayers from this harsh reality? How about the IRS? All these are viable questions that need to be answered.
First off, how does tax return identity theft occur?
Tax return identity theft occurs when someone steals a social security number, then files a return in that person’s name. Some victims don’t find out until they try to file a return, and then they learn that a return has already been filed with their social security number.
– As stated above, if there is another return already filed with your social security number
– The IRS indicates money is owed from wages received from an unknown employer
– If a return wasn’t required for a certain year, and the IRS states collection actions have begun or if additional tax is owed
What are the IRS and others doing to help?
Starting in March, the IRS, top officials within tax prep and software firms, state tax officials, and processors of tax and payroll financial products all convened at what was called the Security Summit. This Summit culminated with recommendations in June and these entities are continuously working together in order to keep consumers’ information safe.
Within the Security Summit were multiple teams that focused on such topics as validation of taxpayers and the information they provide, information sharing between entities, more advanced tactics for threat estimates, and how to prevent future threats. This includes more sophisticated validation within tax software, such as security questions.
Steps to Reduce Risk
– Be very careful in person and online to whom you give your social security number
– Have an anti-virus program installed and working on all of your computers
– Check your credit report
– Do not click links on the internet if you do not know the source or email address
If you are a victim of tax return identity theft or suspect that you have been, please call Lescault and Walderman today at 866-496-2042.