Tax Fraud Increase and What You Need to Know
A Recent Trip To The Accountant Shined A Light On The Problem Of Tax Fraud
Coincidences can turn into inspiration at any time. We recently had our taxes done by a local accountant. When we showed up to meet with them the police were on their way out. Apparently the accountant had to let a client know that their taxes had already been filed and collected. A police report had to be filed, and the client had a mess on their hands. The officer stopped and chatted with me on the way out, saying that this year tax fraud had been a really big problem for them and this is happening with the season really just beginning.
Maybe it is just because we’re hearing about it more in the news, but the spectre of being a victim of tax fraud seems to be more threatening than ever.
How Do You Know You Are A Victim Of Tax Theft?
According to the IRS website, there are some simple things to look for to see that you were a victim of tax theft.
- More than one tax return has been filed from your SSN
- You owe additional taxes or have had collection actions taken against you for a year that you did not file a return
- IRS records state wages from an employer unknown to you
What Should You Do If You Are A Victim?
Finding out that you are a victim of tax fraud is a scary and stressful situation. It is important to start working on fixing the situation right away.
- File a police report
- File a complaint with the FTC at www.identitytheft.gov or the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at (877) 438-4338
- Contact one of the major credit bureaus and place a “fraud alert” on your records
- Close any accounts that may have been opened without your knowledge, or current accounts that have been tampered with
- Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Print, mail or fax according to instructions.
- Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return.
What To Do To Reduce Your Risk.
There is no way to keep yourself perfectly safe from identity thieves, but there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of falling to identity theft.
Here are some ways you can reduce your risk:
- Regularly check your credit report for irregularities or errors
- Do not routinely give out information such as your Social Security Number
- Update personal computer passwords regularly
- Don’t give out personal information unless you trust the source you’re giving it to
- Collect and dispose of mail daily
- Shred unneeded documents such as receipts, credit offers and account statements
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