HV Shred is always focused on best practices for identity theft protection. As a reminder from a recent blog, January 13th-17th is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week led by the Federal Trade Commission–the government division tasked with protecting American consumers. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Over the course of this week, the FTC is doing extra outreach and education.
Here are the basics: The IRS uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to make sure your filing is accurate and complete, and that you get any refund you are due. Identity theft can affect how your tax return is processed. An unexpected notice or letter from the IRS could alert you that someone else is using your SSN, however, the IRS doesn’t start contact with a taxpayer by sending an email, text or social media message that asks for personal or financial information. If you get an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If someone uses your SSN to file for a tax refund before you do, the IRS might think you already filed and got your refund. When you file your return later, IRS records will show the first filing and refund, and you’ll get a notice or letter from the IRS saying more than one return was filed for you.
If someone uses your SSN to get a job, the employer may report that person’s income to the IRS using your SSN. When you file your tax return, you won’t include those earnings. IRS records will show you failed to report all your income. The agency will send you a notice or letter saying you got wages but didn’t report them. The IRS doesn’t know those wages were reported by an employer you don’t know.
If you think someone used your SSN for a tax refund or a job — or the IRS sends you a notice or letter indicating a problem — contact the IRS immediately. Specialists will work with you to get your tax return filed, get you any refund you are due, and protect your IRS account from identity thieves in the future.
Specifically in New York, the FTC is hosting an educational program on Tuesday, January 14th from 4-6pm at Fordham Law School, Room 430 B/C, 140 W. 62nd Street, New York, NY The event will feature a speaker from the IRS, the FTC, Legal Services, among others.
For more on best practices for identity theft protection, please visit www.hvshred.com