With the convenience of buying things and doing business on the internet, not to mention the increased use of social media, 'hackers' are finding more and more ways to steal your personal information.
Tax-related identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit tax fraud. Your taxes can be affected if your Social Security number is used to file a fraudulent return or to claim a refund or credit.
If you believe you have been a victim of tax related identity theft, please visit the IRS website for more information, IRS Identity Theft Central. This is a great article regarding tax related theft from Experian®, 'How to Keep Your Tax Refund Safe From Fraudsters'.
Additionally, if you believe your personal information has been compromised, it is highly suggested that you freeze your credit and place fraud alerts through credit reporting agencies such as TransUnion, Equifax and Experian®. Any Indiana resident can request a credit freeze free of charge. There is no fee for Indiana residents to place, temporarily lift, remove or request a new password or PIN. To place a freeze, either use each credit agency's online process or send a letter by certified mail to each of the three credit agencies. Make sure you freeze your credit with each credit bureau- a freeze with one bureau will not transfer to the others.
Read this informative article for more information about credit reporting agengies: What Are the Three Major Credit Reporting Agencies from thebalance.com. The State of Indiana's Attorney General also has information on freezing your credit; click here to visit their website. This is also a good article from Business News Daily on protecting your computer from hackers: 12 Ways to Secure Your Computer From Hackers.
You can also call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit: 800-908-4490
OTHER TIPS TO PROTECT AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT:
- Any time you feel your credentials for any online accounts have been compromised, change them and report any suspicious activity.
- Remember the IRS will never ask for your sensitive personal information by email.
- Be suspicious and use caution when you receive email from parties you don’t know or that contain content or links you do not expect or recognize.
- Do not click on links or attachments in any email or text messages from senders you do not recognize.
- Consult trustworthy resources for updates such as the IRS on new scams and IRS telephone practices.