WASHINGTON – During the online holiday shopping season, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry remind people to be vigilant with their personal information. While shopping for gifts, criminals are shopping for credit card numbers, financial account information, Social Security numbers and other sensitive data that could help them file a fraudulent tax return.
Anyone who has an online presence should take a few simple steps that could go a long way to protecting their identity and personal information.
The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax community, partners in the Security Summit, are marking “National Tax Security Awareness Week”, Nov. 27-Dec.1, with a series of reminders to taxpayers and tax professionals. In part one, the topic is online security.
Cybercriminals seek to turn stolen data into quick cash, either by draining financial accounts, charging credit cards, creating new credit accounts or even using stolen identities to file a fraudulent tax return for a refund.
Here are seven steps to help with online safety and protecting tax returns and refunds in 2018:
There are also a few additional steps people can take a few times a year to make sure they have not become an identity theft victim.
Receive a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. Check it to make sure there are no unfamiliar credit changes. Create a “My Social Security” account online with the Social Security Administration. There users can see how much income is attributed to their SSN. This can help determine if someone else is using the SSN for employment purposes.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry are committed to working together to fight against tax-related identity theft and to protect taxpayers. But the Security Summit needs help. People can take steps to protect themselves online. Visit the “Taxes. Security. Together.” awareness campaign or review IRS Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers, to see what can be done.
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