Protect Yourself from Tax Identity Theft
(Woodbury, NJ) – The Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Gloucester County Office of Consumer Affairs announced that Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week January 13-17, 2014. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or secure employment.
Freeholder Director Robert Damminger said, “Tax Identity Theft is the most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission and, as a result, the IRS has hired new staff, explored new technologies and adopted new procedures to fight it. “
The theft of someone’s social security number can allow a scammer to file for a tax refund from the IRS but there are steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Freeholder Lyman Barnes, Liaison to the Office of Consumer Affairs noted, “The information we are receiving indicates that these types of thefts are growing. A victim often learns of the crime when a letter is received from the IRS indicating that more than one tax return was filed under their name or social security number or both.”
The Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection has identified some of the ways scammers can gain access to your information:
- Documents with personal information is taken from your trash or mailbox
- Imposters send phony emails that look like IRS documents asking for personal information
- Individuals employed at service industries steal your information
- Dishonest tax preparers misuse their clients’ information or pass it along to identity thieves
Some of the ways to lower your risk of being a victim include:
- Filing your tax return early
- Shred copies of your tax return drafts and any calculation sheets that you no longer need
- Check your credit report at least once a year for free at www.annualcreditreport.com to ensure no other accounts have been opened in your name
Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 if you receive a letter from the IRS to verify the content
Remember that the local office of Consumer Affairs is here to assist with any questions on this, or any other important consumer questions at 856-384-6855.