Miami, FL (March 13, 2012) – With April 15th quickly approaching, millions of Americans are working to get their income tax returns filed. What honest Americans may not realize is that tax season is not only busy for accountants and taxpayers; it is also prime time for identity thieves. Identity theft caused by fraudulent tax returns is a serious concern at this time of the year.
Income tax identity theft usually takes place in one of two ways. The first way is to steal an individual’s Social Security number and other identifying information. Without proper identity theft protection in place, this can be depressingly easy to pull off. With the necessary information in hand, it is easy for the criminal to file a false return and to collect the refund check when it arrives. The victim of the crime is then left to sort out the mess with the IRS and deal with the loss of their tax refund. The other common form of income tax identity theft is when another person is working under a stolen Social Security number and uses it to file their taxes and claim a refund.
Typically, the victim learns of the identity theft when the IRS sends them a notice that two tax returns have been filed under their name, by which point the crooks may have already cashed the tax refund check. In the case of a scam artist working under an assumed Social Security number, the IRS letter may inform the legitimate owner of the number that a tax return has been filed with suspiciously low reported income. In addition to signing up for identity theft protection services to help prevent criminals from accessing or using personal data, another way to prevent these types of scams is to file your tax return as early as possible. Should your Social Security number be compromised, hopefully your legitimate tax return will be the first one filed, and it will be the rightful owner of the refund who receives the check.
The Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, and the US Attorney’s office have teamed up to protect taxpayers from identity theft. They are actively pursuing and prosecuting suspected cases of fraudulent tax returns filed by identity thieves, and monitoring the check cashing storefronts that may be implicated in abetting their crimes. The IRS has several free publications available to inform taxpayers about how to protect their Social Security number and prevent income tax related identity theft. Additional tips can be found on their website, www.irs.gov. The identity theft protection specialists at Credit Protection Pro would like to remind Americans that the IRS does not initiate contact by email. Any email received purporting to be from the IRS should be viewed as an attempt to steal personal information and reported to the FTC, IRS, or Treasury Inspector General. Not only should individuals protect their own Social Security number, they should ensure that their employer and tax preparer do the same.
For more information on the best credit monitoring services, visit www.creditprotectionpro.com. They are a service dedicated to helping to prevent identity theft and credit fraud. Credit Protection Pro has information on all the latest identity theft scams and alerts on their website so that consumers can learn how to protect themselves. In addition, they offer independent professional reviews of credit monitoring services like Identity Guard. Contact Credit Protection Pro at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to protect your credit score and identity.