The IRS has made preventing identity theft a top priority this year.
Here’s what identity thieves have been doing: They steal a taxpayer’s personal information and use it to file a tax return claiming a refund under the taxpayer’s name. Then when the taxpayer actually files a return, the IRS won’t accept it and notifies the taxpayer that a return under his name and ID number has already been filed.
The IRS recommends that taxpayers should do the following in order to avoid becoming an identity theft victim:
* Guard your personal information. Identity thieves can get your information by stealing your wallet or purse, going through your trash, or posing as someone who needs your information for a legitimate reason.
* Watch out for IRS impersonators. Don’t fall for phone calls, faxes, e-mails, or other contacts made by people claiming to be from the IRS. Don’t respond to the message. Don’t open any attachments in an e-mail or click on any links. Do not enter your personal information.
* Protect information on your computer. Protect your tax information with a password, and once you’re finished with your tax data, take it off your hard drive.David Bradsher, CPA