As part of its ongoing effort to educate the public on the dangers of identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service has recently started a series of videos on YouTube to provide more information about reducing vulnerabilities to fraud.
The series is a component of “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign, which is a part of its Security Summit Initiative, the overall goal of which is to combat tax refund fraud and other forms of tax-related identity theft. As a part of that, the YouTube series aims to provide more accessible online resources so taxpayers can protect themselves. The plan also includes online guides and step-by-step instructions on identifying and reporting fraud.
The first clips in the series are tips from four state officials: Alabama Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Kevin Sullivan, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion, Director of the South Carolina Department of Revenue Rick Reames III, and Vermont Commissioner of Taxes Mary Peterson.
The videos tackle topics such as updating passwords, using wi-fi carefully, measures for securing a tax return and how to get your free annual credit report — all important steps in self-protection against identity theft.
“These are important reminders for all of us to protect ourselves online,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement. “These videos reflect the continuing collaborative work between the states, the tax industry and the IRS to protect taxpayers. We are jointly implementing major new procedures to protect taxpayers, but people can help by taking some precautionary steps to help us work to prevent identity theft.”
The IRS launched “Taxes. Security. Together.” and the Security Summit Initiative with the state revenue department and tax industry businesses to crack down on the rising number of tax fraud cases, starting by arming the public with the knowledge of how and why it happens. One of the most frequently emphasized suggestions is to file early. Thieves are known to file fraudulent returns earlier rather than later, getting a better shot at nabbing someone’s refund before the taxpayer gets the chance to. The second most frequent recommendation is securing your information online, to make sure thieves can’t obtain the details needed to file a tax return, such as your Social Security Number and date of birth.
While the IRS continues to improve public education on tax-related identity theft, it’s important for you to bolster your personal security to protect your information. If you want to better protect your identity, you should invest in an identity theft protection service that can monitor your credit file, Social Security Number and public record, and notify you of certain activity that could be an indication of fraud.