In March, we put together a post on various IRS scams that are prevalent this year. (If you missed it, view it here) This month’s update is due to the increasing level of identity theft that is occurring throughout the country. Already, a number of our clients have needed to refile their returns by mail due to the IRS rejecting their e-file authorizations. The reason why? A return has already been filed under their Social Security number.
As the internet continues to expand and businesses transition to online payment and paperless statement options, your information is out in cyberspace more than ever. While there is no way to completely protect yourself from identity theft, we have come up with a few ways you can limit your exposure.
- Create an email account that does not contain your name or any other identifying clues about who you are. This can help prevent thieves from guessing your account name and more of your information. Use this account only for your banking logins and any other accounts that contain sensitive information about yourself.
- Use a very strong password. Include different cases, numbers and symbols for your accounts. While it may be tedious, come up with different passwords for different accounts to further protect your identity.
- Your security questions should have false information. The account you are creating doesn’t know the first school that you went to, however using real information can give more clues about who you are.
- Create an IRS Account – Go to the IRS at the link provided and sign up for an account. This will prevent anyone else from doing this in your name and stealing not only your identity but your money. Once on the website, simply select “Get Transcript Online.” This will redirect you to a log-in page where you can set up your account.
- Social Security Administration – Go to the Social Security Administration website and also sign yourself up for an account. This will prevent someone from stealing your social security benefits, your identity amongst other things.
- Freeze Your Credit Reports – if you don’t apply for credit often or have no major purchases coming up in the near future, you should freeze your credit reports with the three main credit agencies. This will prevent anyone from opening up an account in your name.