Identity theft is no laughing matter, especially when it interferes with your tax returns. While movies and television may paint the situation as rife with slapstick hi-jinks, the fact is that when theft of identity takes place, it is much more of a headache that you’d rather forget.
While you always want to be wary of the threat of ID theft no matter what time of year it is, tax season poses an especially significant threat of this crime as thieves are looking to cash in on your hard earned return check from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Here are a few ways to reduce your risk of fraud this tax season so that hopefully you don’t miss out on well-deserved cash.
- File as early as you possibly can. The IRS starts taking tax reports on January 31, so don’t wait around until the deadline comes in April to get everything filed. Many individuals discover that they’ve been victims only after the IRS rejects the filing because someone else had already cashed in using the victims name and Social Security number. If you are speedy and get your taxes filed immediately, you could potentially be beating a thief to the punch.
- Instead of throwing your financial statements, tax returns and other personal documents away in the trash, make sure they are completely shredded so that data on the documents can’t be read or reproduced. Some thieves have no problem dumpster diving if it means a big pay day.
Monitor your credit report frequently, as a major change in this grade could indicate that someone is making transactions in your name and impacting your credit score negatively.