Tax season is officially underway, and it’s a great time to not only organize your papers, receipts and documents, but also be proactive in protecting your identity.
Preventing identity theft should be a year-round effort. Ian Lingklip is a consumer advocate in Oak Park. He said he gets calls every day from people having problems with accounts that aren’t on their credit reports.
He recommends that you set up a credit file on your computer where you can keep all of your credit-related information in one place.
Lingklip said, “You need it because people have so many accounts they can’t remember. You know, they open credit cards, they close them, they replace them because they need points or benefits.” Like it.”
He also suggests that you review your credit report for free through AnnualCreditReport.com to look for mistakes or irregularities.
Plus, you can freeze your credit to prevent new fraudulent accounts from opening in your name. Contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion for step-by-step guides. You can also use a password manager.
During tax season, if you’re using online tax preparation products or hiring a tax professional, opt for multi-factor authentication to securely access your account. This is optional, and prompts you to enter a username, password, and number texted to your cell phone.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
If you can’t e-file because of a duplicate Social Security number, among other red flags, you’ll need to take action.
- Respond promptly to any IRS notices in the mail and calls provided
- If necessary, Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, is a fillable form at IRS.gov that can be printed and attached to your return, then mailed.
Finally, be vigilant about protecting your data and your identity.
Remember, the IRS will never contact you by email, text or social media to request personal or financial information.
The IRS will never call, email or text to request your Taxpayer Identification Security PIN.
If you suspect you’ve been a victim of tax-related identity theft, you still need to pay your taxes and file your return on time, even if it’s a paper return you mail in.