Tax time is here! As you prepare your returns this year it is important to remember that it’s peak season for tax fraud schemes. Tax fraud happens when someone uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to apply for your refund or to intimidate you into paying money that you do not owe. Criminals can also use your SSN to get around employment verification requirements or avoid being found out if they are on a list such as a sex offender registry.
If you are a late filer you may not know that anything is wrong until you get a letter from the IRS stating that more than one tax return was filed with your SSN, or IRS records show you earned income from an employer you don’t know. Or, the IRS may reject your e-filed tax return as a duplicate filing.
In 2018, the Internal Revenue Service identified a 60% increase from 2017 in fake email schemes whose primary goal was to steal money or tax data. So, how can you
tell if a communication is really from the IRS or from a scammer? Here is a list of things the IRS WON’T do.
The IRS will NEVER:
- Contact you first by email or text message.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups.
- Demand payment without question.
Protect yourself. Follow these tips:
- Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return from the post office.
- If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, don’t engage with the scammer. Instead, tell the caller you will look up the IRS phone number and call back to get more information.
- Do not open links or attachments from unknown or suspicious sources.
If you file your taxes and discover your return has already been submitted or you suspect other identity fraud, remember the credit union’s We Protect is there to help.
Your We Protect recovery advocate will:
- Work with the IRS to note the identity theft concern on your account
- Assist in placing fraud alerts at the three major credit bureaus
- Review your credit report and other records with you to identify the extent of fraudulent activity
If you have a We Florida Financial checking account, you already have access to this valuable service. You can also call us at 954-745-2400 for more information.