As the 2019 tax season gets underway, Grundy Bank urges clients to take extra precaution when filing their tax returns. Tax identity theft has been the most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission for the past five years.
Grundy Bank recommends these tips to help prevent tax ID fraud:
--File early. File your tax return as soon as possible, giving criminals less time to file a false return using your information.
--File on a protected wi-fi network. If you’re using an online service to file your return, be sure you’re connected to a password-protected personal network.
--Use a secure mailbox. If you’re filing by mail, drop your tax return at an official postal box instead of your mailbox at home.
--Find a tax preparer you trust. Get recommendations and research tax preparers thoroughly before handing over all of your financial information.
--Shred what you don’t need. Once you’ve completed your tax return, shred sensitive documents you don’t need and safely file away the ones you do.
--Beware of phishing scams by email, text or phone. Scammers may try to solicit sensitive information by impersonating the IRS. Know that the IRS will not contact you by email, text or social media.
--Keep an eye out for missing mail. Fraudsters look for W-2s, tax refunds or other mail containing your financial information. it looks like it has been previously opened upon delivery, contact the IRS immediately.
If you believe you’re a victim of tax identity theft or if the IRS denies your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. More information about tax identity theft is available from the FTC at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and the IRS at irs.gov/identitytheft.