Cases of identity theft continue to rise, alarming more people during tax season. Fortunately, the IRS has expanded its capabilities to prevent fraudulent returns. This is their top priority as they are now more prepared to prevent cases of identity theft as soon as possible. They employ more than 3,000 people and train 35,000 employees to recognize identity theft as soon as it occurs.
Identity theft is a case of deception. This happens when someone uses your own personal identification to commit crimes. Your credit cards, Social Security Number and other identification can be stolen and used for different purposes without you being aware of it.
Identity theft actually causes you to pay more taxes. You would eventually notice the crime only after it was done. A good example of which is when you are expecting a refund but it gets delayed. The thieves may have used your information to file fraudulent refund claims. To protect you from identity theft, here are few practices you should do:
- Never give out any information especially when it is not necessary. If someone asks you to give your ITIN or SSN, be sure to know why it is needed.
- Keep all of your personal information in a safe place. When keeping it at home, be sure to keep it somewhere out of reach.
- Your computer can be a source of theft. Be sure to use antivirus programs that will protect you from malicious activity.
- Every year, check your credit report. It should be consistent with the previous records that you maintain.
- It’s a good idea to not carry your Social Security Card with you. Leave it in a safe, secure place.
If you received a notice from the IRS, be sure to respond as soon as you can. The IRS has trained professionals to determine if a certain account is suspected to have fraudulent claims. You should respond with your name and the number included in the notice. Also, an Identity Theft Affidavit should be filled-out along with your reply. This can be downloaded at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf.