Picture this scene: you have all of your 2019 tax documents gathered and you are filing your taxes. You click the “Submit” button and take a deep, relaxed breath while you wait for the refund amount to show. But wait, it was rejected? Something about a duplicate filing… Your refund has already been paid… what is going on??
Tax identity thieves steal your tax refund by using your Social Security Number to file a phony tax return. The scary part is you may not know your identity was stolen until your tax return was rejected as a duplicate filing!
Here’s how to protect yourself
- Don’t give your Social Security Number out to ANYONE unless you are sure whom you are giving it to and it is for a good reason.
- File your tax return as early as you can. (Then if a thief tries to steal your refund, they’ll get the rejection. Ha! )
- If you’re filing online, make sure you are on a secure internet connection. The public wi-fi at the coffee shop is not the place to file your taxes – take that latte to-go and sip it in the comfort of your own home (with a secure internet connection).
- If you prefer to mail your tax return, take it directly to the post office.
- If you’d rather use a tax preparer, be sure to seek recommendations of one from people you trust or research them thoroughly before you hand over personal information.
- Take a look at your credit report (you can do so for free annually at annualcreditreport.com). Make sure you do not see any new accounts you don’t recognize.
Remember these tips when you file and you will be much less likely to experience any surprises when you file.