Few things are as personal as doing your taxes. You offer
personal information, social security information, addresses, dependents names
and birth dates, and so much more. Approximately
1.5 million fraudulent tax returns were filed in 2011 using stolen identities,
resulting in over $5 billion in refunds claimed and paid out. Securing your tax information is our highest
priority and the eSmart Tax system applies the most current security
precautions to ensure that your information continues to be safe.
You too, can practice security precautions to reduce the
risk of becoming the victim of an identity theft scam. Below are some of the best practices for
keeping your information away from thieves:
- File your tax return as early as possible to
avoid giving opportunities to identity thieves to file before you do. The IRS
will reject tax returns filed under the same social security number. Make sure your return is filed early, so that
if a thief has stolen your information, the transaction can be easier to
identify. Catching the thief will be
easier as well.
- Check your mailbox often. With tax documents coming in through the
mail, make sure you retrieve these documents out of your mailbox before thieves
have the opportunity to get them.
- Do not give any personal information to the IRS
via email, text message, or social media channels. The IRS will not ask for
this, so it is likely a scam. Forward any suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Choose a very strong password for your efile
account. eSmart Tax requires that you
use a password that contains upper and lower case letters, numbers, and a
- If you have concerns that you may be at risk for
identity theft or concerned about someone filing a fraudulent return, contact
the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 so they can take
action to secure your tax account.
- Only perform transactions when shopping online
at a site if it is encrypted and secure.
If you are unsure whether a store front is encrypted, contact the
retailer’s support staff BEFORE buying from them.
- Obtain your credit report annually. Review it for unusual activity.
- Take your social security card, birth
certificate and passport out of your car, glove compartment, pocket, and/or
wallet. Leave these important documents
at home in a locked location—preferably a safe.
- If you suspect any unusual activity on any
accounts or credit cards, contact your financial institution immediately to cut
off access to a potential thief.
- Similarly, make sure any documents with account
information or other numbers are shredded and disposed of properly.
- Stay aware of current tax scams by checking the
eSmart Tax blog for the latest information.
You can also check the IRS’s tax scams and
consumer alerts page here.