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As the 2019 tax filing season begins, taxpayers need to be prepared for the heightened risk of tax-related scams and Identity Theft.
Simple actions like throwing away a receipt with a credit card number on it, unmonitored mailboxes with bills and statements, and confidential information is thrown out instead of shredded can provide criminals with pieces of personal information. This information can be used to file a fraudulent tax return on your behalf in order to steal your refund or to steal your identity. The sooner you file your taxes, the fewer chances you are leaving for the thieves to do it for you.
Warning signs of Tax Return Identity Theft:
One of the easiest ways thieves can defraud users is through phishing emails. Pretending to be from a trustworthy organization, like the IRS, these emails entice uninformed recipients to provide their Social Security Number, click on a malicious link in the email, enter their credentials on a fraudulent page, or perform other actions that may compromise their identity. For example, know that an email is a phish attempt to steal your identity if it claims to be from the IRS and threatens to withhold your tax returns unless you provide your personal data or log in to their website.
Thieves can also deliver this fraudulent message through a text message or a phone call.
Remember to follow these simple steps to reduce the risk of identity theft: