As more Americans are filing taxes through e-filing services, the potential to become the victim of tax fraud is a possibility. E-filing identity fraud is a type of identity theft that steals tax refunds or a portion of tax refunds from the victim. In some cases, the fraud will use a victim’s name and social security to create false information that is then used to steal from the government. Although the risk of tax identity fraud is a potential problem, it is possible to protect personal data.
Never Give Information After Receiving an E-mail
The Internal Revenue Service does not send requests for personal information over the Internet. E-filing fraud often takes place when consumers accidentally give information to an identity thief thinking that the IRS requested the information.
In reality, the IRS does not contact consumers through email, social media, text messages or other online sources. If an audit occurs, then the IRS will send a request for information or verification through the mail, not over the Internet.
Create a Strong Password
Identity fraud from e-filing taxes often occurs when hackers break a password for the filing system. After receiving an electronic PIN number from the IRS and creating an e-filing account, create a strong password that includes letters and characters without an obvious connection to personal life.
Avoid passwords that relate to family names, birth dates or other data that is readily available and easy to access. That type of password is easy for a hacker to crack and use for e-filing.
File a Paper Tax Return
A simple way to avoid the e-filing fraud is by using a paper tax form. Submitting a paper form might result in more hassles than filing online, but it also reduces the risk of hackers stealing information. When filing a paper tax form, make sure to send it in a little early or on-time. Since it will take a little time to arrive at the IRS, planning ahead can result in obtaining a refund faster.
File a Form 14039
Any time identity theft is suspected, file a Form 14039 with the IRS. The form is an Identity Theft Affidavit that informs the IRS of the suspected theft and helps improve the situation.
Protecting information from illegal activity and fraud is challenging as new advances in technology make it possible to steal information. Although it is possible for information to become stolen, taking protective measures will help reduce the risk.