The deadline for submitting your tax return is coming up, which means that you’ll want to make sure to protect yourself against potential tax ID theft. A significant amount of people use online tax return services, such as TurboTax or Credit Karma, to do their tax returns. Unfortunately, that means there’s a greater risk of having your social security number stolen.
If your social security number is exposed, it can be used to file a false tax return in your name. However, if you’re careful, you can avoid such fraud.
Ways to Prevent Tax ID Theft
The following are a few tips that you should follow to prevent the theft of your social security number:
File Your Taxes Early
To commit tax fraud, scammers need to submit a fraudulent tax return before you do. The earlier you submit your tax return, the less likely it is that you’ll become a victim of tax fraud.
Keep Your Social Security Number Safe
As long as your social security number is safe, you won’t be the victim of tax fraud. As such, take every precaution to keep your number secure. For example, never carry your social security card with you. Instead, keep it locked up somewhere safe in your California home. If you’re planning to throw away documents with your social on them, shred them first.
Sign Up for Identity Protection
The Identity Protection Pin is a unique six-digit number that the IRS will assign to you if you request it. When it’s assigned, you’ll be required to provide it on your return. It’s another level of protection against potential theft since thieves will need your social security number as well as your pin to submit a fraudulent return.
Be Wary About Scams
The IRS will only communicate with you through direct mail. If you receive emails, texts, calls, or social media communications that are advertised as being from the IRS, they are likely scams trying to trick you into giving up your social security number.