Each year, many people will, unfortunately, have the experience of having their identity stolen. Some will have a credit card account or bank account information stolen, but others will have their Social Security number stolen. When a Social Security number is stolen, identity thieves can create and file a fake tax return, and they can collect fraudulent refund money in your name. You may not be aware that a tax return has been filed in your name or that money has been stolen from you in the form of a fraudulent refund until you file your own tax return and are notified by the Internal Revenue Service. There are more than 100,000 cases of fraud on taxes such as this reported each year in recent years.

As a taxpayer, this can be an alarming and costly issue to deal with. More than that, once a criminal has your Social Security number, they can also open up new accounts in your name. This can link even more debt to your identity, and you may not learn about these issues until the bills arrive in the mail or until you apply for credit and learn that your credit rating has been damaged. Protecting your identity is critical, and there are steps that you can take to accomplish this goal.

We understand that there is no foolproof way to protect yourself from fraud related to taxes or from identity theft. However, you can take steps to make it harder for criminals to get a hold of your personal identity information. For example, shredding all information that has your data on it is important, and creating a firewall on your computer can also be helpful. These are only a few of the more effective methods available for keeping identity theft at bay.

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