It is no secret that our world is becoming increasingly connected. Whether you are sitting at your work computer or Googling on your smartphone, you have access to mass amounts of information at your fingertips. While this abundance of information is beneficial in a lot of ways, your personal information is also out there and at the slimy fingertips of identity thieves.
This threat to your personal information is at an even higher risk during tax season. With an estimated 155 million individuals filing this year1, it is prime-time for tax-related fraud. Resolving tax-related fraud could take anywhere from 4 to 6 months. Not to mention, it is costly and upsetting resulting in lack of sleep, anxiety, and feelings of frustration for you and your family. Continue reading and learn how to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of this growing crime.
What is tax-related identity fraud?
Tax related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. 2
You may not know this happened until you efile and realize someone already filed a return using your social security number. You may also receive a letter from the IRS about suspicious activity regarding your return.
How is my personal information exposed?
According to the Department of Justice3, the most common ways Identity Theft or Fraud can happen include:
- “Shoulder surfing” – watching you from a nearby location as you punch in your credit card number or listening to you give your credit card number over the phone.
- If you receive applications for “pre-approved” credit cards in the mail and do not tear them up before discarding, thieves can try to activate the cards for themselves. They can also intercept your mail and redirect it to another location.
- ID thieves can access your information through spam emails and hacking your computer or smartphone.
How to reduce your risk of Identity fraud and tax-related fraud
There are many steps you can use to protect your data. Be sure to always use security software on your computer with anti-virus protection1. Stay cautious and alert of spam emails and fraudulent callers posing as your bank, the IRS and credit card companies. And protect your license, tax records and social security card by keeping them in a safe and secure location.
Alumni Identity Theft Protection
Alumni ID Theft Protection, available through The AIP, protects alumni and their families from identity theft and tax-related fraud by monitoring your valuable information on the deep and dark web, strengthening your digital security and alerting you at the first sign of suspicious activity. If you do fall victim to identity theft or tax-related fraud, our certified identity theft resolution specialist are available 24/7 to help restore your identity and prevent further damage.
Check now to see if your school offers Alumni ID Protection through The Alumni Insurance Program or call 1-800-922-1245 to reduce your risk of identity fraud.
12018 Tax Filing Season Begins Jan. 29, Tax Returns Due April 17; Help Available for Taxpayers (2018, January 4) Internal Revenue Service – IRS. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/2018-tax-filing-season-begins-jan-29-tax-returns-due-april-17-help-available-for-taxpayers?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8NqA8FvM_TlY176ZlX4IRQTpkjBpY87j078Sxht751IwiCCI5agyarlbmCGkil7kf0v6nctgBuPoNBTm0l1d-FyFUOOA&_hsmi=53940194
2Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft (2018, March 6). Internal Revenue Service - IRS. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft
3Identity Theft (2017, February 7). The Department of Justice. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/identity-theft/identity-theft-and-identity-fraud