It is tax season, which means identity thieves and IRS imposters are hard at work trying to steal your personally identifying information in order to file a phony tax return.
Do you know how to protect yourself and what to do if someone were to use your Social Security number to collect a fraudulent refund? While tax identity theft isn’t always avoidable, there are some steps you can take to help lower your risk of becoming a victim.
- File early. The IRS only accepts one tax return per Social Security or Taxpayer ID number. If a thief submits your information first, your legitimate tax return will be rejected.
- Always use anti-virus software with automatic updates.
- Do not respond to phony phishing emails, deceptive phone calls, and bogus texts from supposed “IRS agents.” The IRS will not contact you without first sending you a bill.
- Never send cash via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS will never require you to use a specific method of payment or ask for a credit/debit/gift card number over the phone.
For more information about Tax Payer Identity Theft, log on to www.consumer.ftc.gov or www.IRS.gov/identitytheft. To report a suspicious call, text or email, contact the Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 239-258-3292.
by Lee County Sheriff’s Office