How to Prevent Tax Identity Theft
How to Prevent Tax Identity Theft

Identity theft has become one of the most common cybercrimes. As we enter tax season, scammers are preparing to make their next move. According to Equifax, “tax-related identity theft happens when someone steals your Social Security number and uses it to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund.” To avoid the strain that comes along with tax identity theft, check out Nutmeg Technologies top tips.

Understand The Red Flags

One of the best ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of tax identity theft is to know the warning signs. Some popular ways that cybercriminals try to steal your personal identifiable information (PII) is through pretending to be the IRS and requesting personal or financial information. They often do this by calling you with threats of lawsuits or arrests if this information isn’t provided. The IRS has announced that they will never initiate contact in these ways and to contact them directly if you are ever uncertain.

Secure Your Passwords

Having a hard to guess password that contains a mixture of numbers, characters, uppercase and lowercase letters can go a long way in terms of keeping an unwanted person out of your financial accounts. See below for the best practices according to the IRS:

  • Use long phrases that you can remember, combined with characters and numbers.
  • Use a different password for each account and use a password manager.When possible, don’t use your email address as your login ID.
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever it’s offered. This is particularly important for protecting your email, financial and social media accounts.

For an added layer of protection, try multi-factor authentication.

Establish a Strong Security Software

To help prevent anyone from breaking into your computer and stealing confidential information, it’s important to have a strong antivirus software and firewall in place. To take security to the next level, endpoint security systems can help secure information stored on a device or the cloud. If you store sensitive data on your device, be sure to encrypt those programs. And lastly, always backup your files so that if they are stolen or corrupted, you will always have a copy of them.

Don’t Forget About Physical Security

Following best practices when it comes to cyber-attacks is critical, especially this time of year. In addition to online security habits, it is important to follow similar guidelines when in public. Most likely you don’t need your social security card on a daily basis, so when you aren’t using it, store it somewhere safe to prevent yourself from losing it or having it stolen. You also want to do the same with your tax records as those hold a lot of valuable financial information. Similar to if these files were stored on your computer, you would want to make it as difficult as possible for a criminal to get their hands on them.

What to do if You do becoming victim of Tax Identity Theft

According to the IRS, you should follow the below steps if you feel like you have become victim of tax identity theft:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice: Call the number provided.
  • If your e-filed return is rejected because of a duplicate filing under your Social Security number, or if the IRS instructs you to do so, complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail your return according to instructions.
  • Visit IdentityTheft.gov for steps you should take right away to protect yourself and your financial accounts.

Nutmeg Technologies is an IT managed service provider based out of Windsor, CT. We are happy to assist companies who are looking to have in-office or remote workforce through secure technology. Contact us to today to find a product that best suits your company’s needs.