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Keep your Identity Safe this Tax Season

Tax season is upon us, and for most, this is an exciting time of year. The holidays are finally behind us, and hopefully, Uncle Sam gives us a little bonus to kick start the year.

However, for tax identity thieves – this is prime time to steal Social Security numbers and file phony tax returns. As your trusted financial partner, we’d like to share some helpful information about how you can keep your identity safe this tax season.

What is Tax Identity Theft?

Tax identity theft takes place when someone uses your social security number to file a fraudulent tax return and then collects your hard earned dollars.

What is a Fraudulent Tax Return?

This type of scam takes place when your Social Security number is used to file a fake tax return. Scammers will make phone calls to potential victims claiming to be the IRS, threating criminal charges if the fraudulent refund is not returned.

Criminals also create bogus tax preparation sites in an effort to steal personal information from people. The website looks like the real deal but, in reality, it’s a deception.

When using an online tax preparation service, be sure to look for the tax preparer identification number. The IRS requires all paid tax preparers to have one to file any returns.

What are the Warning Signs of Tax Identity Fraud?

point.pngReceiving notification that more than one tax return was filed using your personal information.

point.pngOwing additional taxes or have collection actions taken against you (for a year that you did not file a tax return).

point.pngIRS records showing you received wages or other income from an employer that you were not employed with.

point.pngNoticing multiple charges on your account from a tax preparer.

How to Reduce the Risk for Tax Identity Theft:

point.pngEnroll in Benefits Plus® for fraud and identity theft coverage.

point.pngAlways use security software with a firewall and anti-virus protection.

point.pngUse strong passwords (and change them often).

point.pngNever click on unfamiliar links or download attachments.

point.pngDon’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse.

point.pngMake sure to keep tax records in a secure location.

point.pngNever share personal information on social media.

What to do if your Identity is Stolen:

point.pngContact NECU immediately and inform us of the theft.

point.pngFile a report with the Federal Trade Commission at identitytheft.gov.

point.pngPlace a fraud alert with all credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax) and with the Social Security office.

For more information about tax identity theft and what to do should you become a victim, please visit the Federal Trade Commission website.