AVOID BECOMING A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT
On December 22, 2017, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law. The information in this article predates the tax reform legislation and may not apply to tax returns starting in the 2018 tax year. You may wish to speak to your tax advisor about the latest tax law. This publication is provided for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. This publication is protected by copyright.
Minimize the INFORMATION a thief can steal – The following are some guidelines to help avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud. If you have already become a victim, see our Tips for Victims.
• Beware of Fake IRS E-Mails. the IRS does not initiate communication with taxpayers through e-mail.
• Don’t carry a Social Security Card, extra credit cards or a passport unless the documents are needed.
• Memorize your Social Security Number, any personal identification numbers and passwords. If you write them down, do not record them on anything in your wallet or purse. When creating a password or PIN, do not use digits from your Social Security number, telephone number or date of birth.
• Sign new credit cards upon receipt. Save all credit card receipts and match them against your monthly bills. Never throw them away intact in a public trash container.
• Never loan out your credit card. Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
• Never give out personal identity information, especially Social Security or credit card numbers over the phone, unless you know the person or business and you initiated the phone call.
• Beware of phone or mail solicitations disguised as promotions offering prizes or bargains designed solely to obtain your Social Security or credit card numbers.
• Don’t leave mail out for pickup and do have a locked mailbox. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery.
• Shred all mail, bills, receipts and financial documents with your name or identification numbers on them, especially pre-approved offers of credit. Thieves have been known to fish identities out of trash bins.
• Look over monthly credit card and bank statements carefully. Follow up if any charges or withdrawals appear suspicious.
• Order credit reports from the three major credit bureaus at least once a year and more often if you have been a victim. Check every line of information in your file for fraudulent activity and other discrepancies.
• Pay bills electronically when possible. Follow up with creditors if you do not receive a bill on time because it could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and has changed the billing address.
• Remove your name from the marketing lists of the three major credit reporting bureaus to limit the pre-approved offers of credit you receive.
• Keep the number of credit cards you use to a bare minimum.Cancel all unused credit card accounts.
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