Identity theft is a very real and serious issue. Recent tax filing seasons saw an increase in the amount of high income earners (doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.) that were targeted across multiple states, including Michigan.
According to the IRS: “Usually, an identity thief uses a legitimate taxpayer’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund. Generally, the identity thief will use a stolen SSN to file a forged tax return and attempt to get a fraudulent refund early in the filing season. You may be unaware that this has happened until you file your return later in the filing season and discover that two returns have been filed using the same SSN.”
It is important that you protect your personal information. The IRS advises the following actions to reduce the likelihood of identity theft:
- Don’t carry your Social Security card or any document(s) with your SSN on it.
- Don’t give a business your SSN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
- Protect your financial information.
- Check your credit report every 12 months.
- Secure personal information in your home.
- Protect your personal computers by using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, update security patches, and change passwords for Internet accounts.
- Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.
In addition, high income earners may want to consider contracting with a personal management firm to provide monitoring services or inquire if your insurance company provides similar services. Identity fraud insurance coverage may also be included in homeowner insurance policies for protection in the event identity theft occurs.
For additional information click on the following links:
Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft
Tips for Taxpayer, Victims about Identity Theft and Tax Returns