TIPS FOR PREVENTING IRS TAX FRAUD
Given the recent Equifax breach, in which more than half of Americans’ personal information was exposed, it’s important to be on the lookout for fraudsters who may have enough information to file a false tax return in a victim’s name. A popular IRS scam involves fraudsters who submit the phony return to obtain a refund. Social Security numbers were among other data exposed in the massive breach, which helps pave the way for this kind of scheme. Are there ways to protect consumers? Many experts say that the best thing one can do is to file early. Filing early may very well beat the scammer at his or her own game.
Another tip? The IRS offers identify theft protection PIN numbers
, which are used to prevent a fraudster from filing a phony tax return with a stolen Social Security number. This six-digit number must be used whenever one
files with the IRS. Finally, monitoring financial accounts has never been more critical. Scammers open unauthorized depository (e.g. checking, savings) accounts in victims’ names, and use these accounts to deposit their phony refunds. Credit monitoring alone will not alert consumers to these illegitimate depository accounts. Using a technology platform
that alerts consumers to unauthorized depository accounts in their name can shut down the IRS phony refund scheme. More information on how seniors may be targeted for tax fraud can be found here