Tax return fraud and identity theft have come to the forefront of our industry this year. eSmart Tax is committed to ensuring your information is safe and filed only by you.
With the rise of tax return fraud and identity theft this year, eSmart Tax proactively instituted a more thorough identity verification process for the 2015 tax filing season. We’ve partnered an industry leader in identity verification service to scan returns and assist with ID verification to decrease the opportunity for fraudulent activity.
This means that during the course of submitting your return, you may be asked to provide your driver’s license or government-issued ID, and proof of your current address if it differs from your ID. This is the digital equivalent of showing your ID when making a purchase or conducting a bank transaction.
If you need to submit this information, you’ll receive an e-mail from our Support Department asking you to reach out to us via secure Live Chat or by e-mail. Once you’ve established a secure connection, our representatives will walk you through the process and verify your return for you to resubmit. You can access these secure methods of contact via your account page, and we will not reach out to you for this information without you contacting us first.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone fraudulently obtains your personal information with the intent of using it maliciously. Obtaining this information usually occurs by a person phishing for your personal information.
What is “phishing?”
Phishing is the attempt to acquire or obtain personal or sensitive information by impersonating a trustworthy source and can be done in several different ways:
- Through e-mail – fraudulent e-mails asking you to reply, click a link, or call a phone number to verify sensitive information. Pay attention to the sender’s address, it’ll often vary slightly from the real organization. Report all phishing e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
- Through the web – pop-up windows or fraudulent websites created to look like another can often be mistaken for the real thing. If you search for a website on the web, double-check the web address if you feel like something doesn’t look right, or call the company to verify the website’s address.
- Over the phone – You may receive a phone call from a person who is posing as an official or representative of a company and is attempting to gain your sensitive data. If you have a suspicion, hang up immediately and notify the authorities of the situation.
What is tax return fraud?
Once someone has your personal information, they may use that information to file a fraudulent tax return and receive a refund. This means that if you haven’t filed your return, when you do so your return may be rejected and you will need to work with the IRS to fix the issue which could take a considerable amount of time.
With the number of cases in the US growing each year, the IRS has created a number of resources and best practices to guard against identity theft and tax fraud. Every year they publish their Dirty Dozen, a list of the top 12 scams that taxpayers should be aware of – and provide helpful tips to safeguard your information:
- Do not keep your SSN Card on you – keep it locked safely and securely somewhere only you and family members can access it.
- Share your SSN only when necessary, and with a creditable company that you have called.
- Protect your personal financial information in all forms, both electronically and physical documentation.
- Check your credit report annually.
- Check your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually.
- Protect personal computers by using firewalls, anti-virus and malware services, update security patches, and regularly change your internet/website account passwords.
If you find yourself in the situation where someone has filed a fraudulent return using your information, we encourage you to reach out to the IRS here.
We’re committed to ensuring your transaction is safe, secure, and protected. Protecting and educating our community is very important to us. We provide helpful, valuable tax and life help on The Daily Deduction throughout the year. If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get more articles like this posted directly to your timeline or newsfeed! You can also share this with your social network or friends by clicking on the share buttons above or below.