Tax identity theft? You may think, who would want to steal my tax information? Well, the scammers don't plan to pay Uncle Sam on your behalf.
"Tax identity theft happens when a scammer files a fraudulent tax return using your Social Security number (SSN) and claims your refund. It also happens when someone uses your SSN to earn wages, and sticks you with the tax bill," according to Seena Gressin Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, Federal Trade Commission.
In 2016, the FTC reported seeing nearly 400,000 complaints scam callers who say they’re from the IRS and are going to arrest or fine you unless you immediately pay them for taxes you supposedly owe.
According to the FTC, these are the top four ways to avoid becoming a victim:
- File your tax return as early as possible.
- Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
- Know the IRS won’t contact you by email, text, or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will contact you by mail.
- Check your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com to make sure there are no unauthorized accounts.