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Tax Identity Theft

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Our dependency on technology and the increasing interconnectedness of our world have undoubtedly brought about many conveniences and advancements. However, with these advancements also come new threats and risks. One of these threats is tax identity theft.

What is tax identity theft?

Tax identity theft occurs when a fraudster steals someone’s personal information, such as their social security number, to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a tax refund. This can result in the victim having their legitimate tax return delayed or rejected, and potentially even owing money to the IRS. It is a serious crime that can have significant financial and emotional consequences for the victim.

How does this issue happen?

First and foremost, it is crucial to understand how tax identity theft occurs to effectively prevent it. Typically, fraudsters obtain personal information through phishing scams, data breaches, or by stealing mail containing sensitive information. They then use this information to file a tax return and receive a refund check before the legitimate taxpayer has a chance to file their return. This can happen to anyone, regardless of their income or tax bracket, making it a growing concern for both individuals and businesses.

Preventing Tax Identity Theft

One of the most effective ways to prevent this issue is to file your tax return early. By filing early, you can beat the fraudsters to the punch and reduce the risk of someone filing a fraudulent return under your name. You should also keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. This can include receiving a tax transcript or refund check that you did not request, as these may indicate that someone else is using your information. Furthermore, it is important to secure your personal information and never give it out unless you are sure of the recipient’s identity and purpose. In addition to taking preventive measures, it is also essential to be vigilant about monitoring your financial accounts and credit reports. Regularly checking your bank and credit card statements can help you catch any unauthorized transactions or activity. It is also a good idea to request a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at least once a year to ensure that there are no accounts opened in your name without your knowledge. In January we observed Tax Identity Theft Week, which serves as an important reminder that this issue is a real threat that can have devastating consequences for its victims. By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, we can reduce the risk of falling victim to this crime. As a responsible member of the financial community, Harding Bell International spreads awareness and provides support to prevent tax identity theft. Learn about our tax-related services at http://valeryv18.sg-host.com/taxes-and-accounting.

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