Tax Identity Theft Week is an important annual event that takes place every year, begining on the last Monday of January, in order to help spread awareness about the dangers of tax-related identity theft. This type of theft can devastate your finances, credit history, and reputation, so it’s crucial that you take steps to protect yourself from becoming a victim. In this article, we will discuss what tax identity theft is and how you can protect yourself from it. We’ll also provide some helpful tips on how to file your taxes safely and securely. So please join us as we kick off Tax Identity Theft Week!
An Overview of Tax Identity Theft
Tax identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return and collect a refund. It is a serious crime that can cause significant financial harm to victims. In order for you to protect yourself from tax identity theft, it is important to understand how it works and what the warning signs are.
How Does Tax Identity Theft Occur?
Tax identity theft typically occurs when someone obtains your personal information—such as your name, Social Security number, date of birth, or bank account numbers—and uses it to file a fraudulent tax return and claim an undeserved refund.
Oftentimes, the thief will use this personal information to open new accounts in your name or apply for credit cards without your knowledge or consent. The key here is that the thief must obtain some form of personal information in order to commit this type of fraud.
Warning Signs of Tax Identity Theft
The first sign that you may be a victim of tax identity theft is if you receive notice from the IRS stating that more than one tax return was filed in your name or that income was reported on your taxes that you did not earn.
Another sign is if you receive an IRS notice indicating you owe additional taxes due to an unreported income source or inaccurate filing status. You should also be aware if any of your contact information has been changed with the IRS without your knowledge or consent.
Finally, be on alert if any unfamiliar activity appears on any credit reports such as accounts opened in your name without authorization or purchases made with stolen payment methods. If any of these warning signs occur, it’s important to take action immediately by contacting the IRS directly and filing Form 14039 – Identity Theft Affidavit – with them as soon as possible.
How to Protect Yourself from Tax Identity Theft
Tax identity theft is a growing problem, especially in the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Every year, thousands of taxpayers fall victim to this type of fraud. It’s important that taxpayers are aware of the threat and how they can protect themselves from becoming victims.
The best way to protect yourself from tax identity theft is to be proactive. Here are some steps you can take:
- Monitor Your Credit Report: Check your credit report regularly for any suspicious activity, and be sure to dispute it with the credit bureau if you find anything inaccurate. You can request copies of your credit report for free once per year at annualcreditreport.com.
- File Your Taxes Early: Filing early can help prevent someone else from filing a fraudulent return using your information before you do. The sooner you file, the less likely it is that someone else will be able to use your information first.
- Use Secure Networks When Shopping Online: When shopping online, make sure that the website is secure by looking for “https” in the address bar instead of just “http”. Also look for an indication that payments are secured by a third-party payment processor like PayPal or VeriSign before submitting payment information online.
- Shred All Sensitive Documents: Be sure to shred all documents containing sensitive financial or personal information before throwing them out so that no one else can gain access to it if they were to get into the wrong hands.
- Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly: Make sure that all passwords are strong (not easily guessed) and change them frequently so that hackers cannot gain access to any sensitive accounts you have set up online.
- Don’t Respond To Phishing Scams: Never respond or click on links sent via email from sources claiming they need sensitive information from you in order to process something on your behalf—especially if they are asking for Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, etc.—as this could be an attempt at phishing scam designed only to steal your personal data and commit fraud with it against you!
Protecting yourself against tax identity theft is essential in today’s digital world. By being proactive about monitoring your accounts and financial activities, staying informed about security measures, filing early, and avoiding suspicious emails or websites with potential malware or scams, you can greatly reduce your risk of falling victim to tax identity theft! With these easy steps taken care of, everyone should feel safe knowing their taxes and finances are protected!
How to Ensure Your Tax Filing is Safe and Secure
Tax season can be a stressful time for many people. Not only do taxpayers have to make sure they are filing accurately, but also that their information is being handled in a secure manner. Fortunately, the United States and most states offer free ways to file taxes safely and securely. In this section, we will explore the two main options for tax filing in the US and Pennsylvania – IRS Free File and Pennsylvania’s myPATH.
IRS Free File
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers an online tool called Free File that allows taxpayers to file both their federal taxes as well as those of most states without incurring any additional fees. The service is offered through a partnership with more than a dozen private sector tax software companies that provide services at no cost to those who qualify based on their income level. To use IRS Free File, taxpayers must first determine if they are eligible by visiting the IRS website or using their mobile app. Once eligibility has been established, users can choose from one of several popular tax software providers such as H&R Block or TurboTax to complete their filing.
Additionally, Pennsylvania residents can take advantage of the state’s free online filing option – myPATH – which is also available through the IRS website or mobile app. This service allows users to securely file both state and federal taxes at no additional cost. Like IRS Free File, myPATH requires users to be eligible based on income levels before they can access the service; however, it does not require users to have access to any specific tax preparation software prior to beginning the filing process. This makes it ideal for those who are new to filing taxes or do not have access to a commercial tax preparation program such as H&R Block or TurboTax.
Filing taxes can be a stressful experience but it doesn’t have to be if you take advantage of services like IRS Free File and Pennsylvania’s myPATH that allow you to safely and securely file your taxes with ease. Both of these services offer taxpayers easy-to-use tools that eliminate the need for expensive tax prep software while still ensuring your data remains secure throughout the entire process. So don’t let stress get in your way; take advantage of these great resources today!
Don’t Let Tax Identity Theft Ruin Your Year
Hopefully, this article has provided you with some helpful information on what tax identity theft is and how you can avoid it. Remember to file your taxes early, be vigilant about protecting your personal information, and don’t let anyone else file your taxes for you unless you are absolutely sure that they can be trusted. If you want more tips, be sure to sign up for MyChesCo’s newsletter or follow us on social media.
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This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.