Tax season is here and so are tax identity thieves. According to a special report, prepared by Cristin Severance of CBS 11, Dallas residents, Kevin Spurgeon and Stacy Lamm, recently filed their 2017 tax return. The two thought they were doing good by filing their return prior to the deadline; however, the IRS put a hold on the refunds.
Generally, identity thieves steal consumers’ identities in one or both of the following ways:
- Identity thieves may use someone else’s personal identifying information to file a fraudulent tax return. The thief may use the victim’s name and Social Security number and ask the IRS to electronically deposit the return into the thief’s bank account. The scheme is simple and the consumer’s Social Security number and basic personal identifying information is just about all that is needed to intercept the tax return.
- Identity thieves may use victims’ personal identifying information to obtain a job. The identity thief then receives wages under the victim’s Social Security number and generally does not pay any or all of the tax obligations associated with the earnings. As a result, the IRS may withhold or delay identity theft victims’ returns because of the unpaid taxes associated with the identity thief.
So what can consumers do to protect themselves from tax fraud?
- You should make sure that the person who is preparing your tax return is registered with the IRS. The IRS maintains a list of licensed “Tax Return Preparers.” Click HERE to search the IRS list for Tax Return Preparers licensed in your area.
- Review your tax return for any errors. Make sure any account and routing information for returns is for your account or an account authorized by you.
- Keep a copy of your tax return. If the IRS questions you, your tax return will help you to answer the IRS’ questions. The paper return also creates a paper trail that may support your claims of fraud.
- Shred all documents that contain your personal identifying information before your throw them in the trash. “Dumpster diving” is a common identity theft tactic in Dallas. Identity thieves pick up your trash and hope to find bank or credit card statements or documents with your Social Security number, such as pay stubs or Medicare statements.
Click HERE for more identity theft prevention tips from the Dallas Police Department.
The Adkins Firm represents identity theft victims. We provide legal representation to identity theft victims who have credit report or background report errors. We help identity theft victims from start to finish, even if it means filing a lawsuit in federal court to clear our clients’ names. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, contact identity theft attorney Micah Adkins for a free case review.
Remember, Dallas, it’s your credit report!