Tax fraud is on the rise. It can have serious financial repercussions, and it can get you into a difficult bureaucratic cycle as you attempt to push through the murk and get the situation resolved. However, there are some simple tips you can follow to protect yourself from tax fraud.
Never Give Out Your Social Security Number
Your social security number is the main tool someone could use to file a tax return without your knowledge. You should only give it out when it is an absolute necessity, such as when you need to help your employer fill out their records.
Store Tax Forms Securely
Never store tax forms in electronic form on your computer. If you must store them electronically, store them in a separate hard-drive or on a separate memory stick. The same applies to anything you happen to have your social security number on.
Check Your Tax Professional
Many schemes involve criminals pretending to be tax professionals. They open up for business, gather personal information, and then they can submit tax returns on your behalf. Make sure the professional is reputable before you submit anything.
Opt for Direct Deposit
Direct deposit ensures criminals don’t have enough time to file and benefit from any ill-gotten gains. The time it takes to send and receive your return will have a direct impact on what a criminal can do.
Protecting yourself from tax fraud is a matter of vigilance. Treat your personal information as you would your car keys and you should have few problems with criminals taking advantage of you.
Image credit: Eli Christman