Preventing Tax Identity Theft & Protecting Your Information

This post has been sponsored by Block Advisors.

Wouldn’t it stink if you filed your tax return, expecting a nice refund from the IRS, only to find out someone else has already fraudulently filed a tax return using your information? Sadly, this happens more often than you’d think.

Criminals come out of the shadows this time of year to take part in the very profitable activity of fraudulently filing tax returns to claim refunds that don’t belong to them.

Here’s what you need to do to prevent tax identity theft for your personal situation:

Preventing Tax Identity Theft

Preventing tax identity theft is a difficult thing to do. However, you can be smart about what you do with your personal information to reduce the likelihood that you’ll encounter tax identity theft.

In order to file a fraudulent tax return, these tax refund thieves need some of your personal information. The best thing you can do is restrict the availability of your personal information that these thieves need to file a tax return.

Protect Your Personal Information

Specifically, tax thieves need your Social Security Number (SSN) and date of birth to file a return. With these pieces of information, along with your name, a thief can file a fake return with hopes that the IRS will accept it and issue them a refund.

Long ago, Social Security Numbers were used as an easy way to identify people and their belongings. You wrote your SSN on everything from personal checks to your personal belongings. While that used to be standard practice, you now need to guard your SSN.

Some people, like your employer, will need your SSN in order to properly report your wages to the IRS. Other people, like your dry cleaner, have no business knowing your SSN. Never give out your Social Security Number unless it is absolutely necessary.

Similarly, your date of birth is an important piece of information needed to file your return. You can protect this information by not posting your entire birth date on social media or other places where it is not necessary.

Let The Tax Identity Shield Monitor For Tax Identity Theft

If you want a sense of security that someone is monitoring for tax identity theft for you, you may want to look into the Tax Identity Shield by Block Advisors. Tax Identity Shield will detect and notify you if Block Advisors detects a tax return filed with your personal information. However, they cannot monitor for tax returns filed through other systems or tax returns filed by mail.

Additionally, Tax Identity Shield will help you with a proactive defense by offering assistance in obtaining identity theft protections offered by the IRS. While you could do this yourself, Tax Identity Shield guides you through the process.

In the unfortunate situation where you suffer from tax identity theft, Tax Identity Shield will give you access to tax identity restoration assistance to help restore your tax identity.

Tax advisors from Block Advisors have seen the unfortunate affects of tax identity theft and can help you figure out how to move forward if you’ve been a victim. If you’re interested in talking with a tax advisor or finding out more about Tax Identity Shield, contact a Block Advisors office near you.

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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