According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, tax-related identity theft and fraud are expected to reach an all-time high as people begin to file their tax returns for 2013. Here are some tips to keep your identity safe during tax season.
• Be wary of unusual methods of communication. The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message or social media; it only uses the U.S. Postal Service.
• Use a reputable tax service-such as those in good standing with the Better Business Bureau-to file tax claims. Also use tax preparers with an IRS-issued Preparer Tax Identification Number.
• For those filing their taxes online, be sure to use a secure Internet connection. Be sure the URL of any page that prompts you for login credentials or to register for a service starts with “https.”
• Don’t download W-2 tax statements, which display Social Security numbers, on computers at work.
• Watch out for criminals who may have filed a fraudulent tax return in your name.