Tax Related Identity Theft
For 2016 the Internal Revenue Service is again reporting increased incidences of tax related identity theft a trend which began in 2011. For more on the national scope of tax related identity theft read - IRS Still Plagued by Identity Theft This Tax Season from www.accountingtoday.com
Members of the University community have also reported identity theft related to their tax filings. University representatives are investigating, but have found no evidence of any breach of USNH or UNH data that may have contributed to this situation. As required by law, should the University discover evidence of a breach of university held personally identifiable data, affected individuals would be notified directly.
If you or someone you know has experienced tax related identity theft, UNH ISS recommends the following actions to reduce your risk of additional financial loss or further identity theft:
- Report your loss to the IRS and the FBI or your local Police Department
- Create a credit lock or freeze; for more information see the Federal Trade Commission webpage at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
- Use the free service from the IRS to create a tax filing PIN at the IRS website http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Electronic-Filing-PIN-Request
- File an identity theft report at https://identitytheft.gov/.
- Obtain and monitor credit reports for at least one year; free reporting is offered by the three major credit companies and can be requested at the website www.annualcreditreport.com
- Ensure your Social Security Number and other financial information is not stored on your computers, both work and personal. For UNH/USNH computers, use Identity Finder to locate and remove such information. Identity Finder is available at //identity/Client Installers ; contact ISS for assistance to install and run.
- Contact your insurance agent to see if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy offers identity theft protection.
Lastly, in light of this ongoing issue, we would like to offer some thoughts on protecting yourself from tax and other forms of identity theft related risks:
- Secure your social security number (SSN):
- Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your SSN on your checks.
- Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary. If a business or institution asks for your SSN, you should ask why that is needed.
- Avoid storing your SSN on your computer unless encrypted.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (such as your name, birth-date, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, email or online.
- Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Review your credit card receipts.
- Ask for copies and incorrect charge slips as well.
- Promptly compare receipts with account statements.
- Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired cards, to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a secure place at home and at work.
- Enable firewalls and install anti-virus software on your home computer.
- Use complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily.
- Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases.
- Review your credit card and banking statements promptly and thoroughly and report any unauthorized or suspicious activity.
- Obtain your credit report, at least annually, and review to be certain that it doesn't include accounts that you have not opened.
If you have any questions or input, please don’t hesitate to contact UNH ISS.