Stolen identity refund fraud, also known as SIRF, has become a hot-button topic for taxpayers. Costing the U.S. Treasury Department billions of dollars, this is when stolen identities are used to file false tax returns and make off with the victim’s refund. It’s just the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of identity theft.
To protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, you can never be too careful. Instead of walking around with your Social Security card, passport, credit cards or other important forms of identification inside your wallet, it’s best to store these valuable documents in a safe place until you actually need them.
Remember, the IRS will never attempt to contact you by e-mail, text, or social media. If you receive a money demand from someone claiming to work for the IRS, hang up and report the incident immediately. In most SIRF cases, the fake tax returns are filed electronically, before the real taxpayers have filed their taxes, so filing as soon as possible also provides some protection.
Keeping your personal information under close wraps is your best defense against identity theft. While leaving mail out for the postal carrier or tossing documents in the trash is convenient, it can also expose your data to potential thieves. Simple steps like shredding your old receipts and credit card offers and safeguarding your mail can help you keep your information out of the hands of crooks.
To learn more about what you can do to avoid being victimized through SIRF or other identity theft, turn to Taxation Solutions, Inc. Serving the Arlington area, we’re here to tackle your tough tax issues.