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This tax season, be extra-careful with your personal information, because criminals could be targeting you for identity theft.
And not just your garden-variety identity theft either. With millions of tax returns being transmitted by mail and via the Internet, tax identity theft can also cause problems, as Forbes recently reminded us.
How does tax identity theft work? And what tricks are identity thieves using to get your tax information and other personal data?
In a typical tax identity theft scheme, scammers use an innocent party's stolen tax information to file false returns and false refund claims.
In some cases, they use stolen Social Security numbers when they work at a job. This results in wages and income being reported by someone other than the person earning the wages.
Here are three ways criminals commonly go after your information during tax season:
While you can't prevent all scammers from getting your information, you can keep an eye out for suspicious activity. If the IRS sends you a letter informing you of possible ID theft, take it seriously.
Tax identity theft can be reported at the IRS Identity Theft Protection Page. The IRS also has a hotline for identity protection at (800) 908-4490.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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