Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. This is a serious matter as you may be unaware that this has happened until you receive an IRS letter saying they have identified a suspicious return using your SSN.
There have been several data breach during the past years, and it makes almost everyone potential victim of identity theft. Here are some major incidents:
Equifax Data Breach
In September of 2017, Equifax announced it experienced a data breach, which impacted the personal information of approximately 147 million people. A federal court is considering a proposed class action settlement submitted on July 22, 2019, that, if approved by the Court, would resolve lawsuits brought by consumers after the data breach. Equifax denies any wrongdoing, and no judgment or finding of wrongdoing has been made.
You could check your eligibility. <<https://eligibility.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/en/eligibility>>
Capital One Data Breach
A data breach to Capital One servers in March of 2019 exposed the personal information of nearly 106 million of the bank's customers and applicants. The hack included US and Canadian customers of the banking and credit card company. According to Capital One, the breach on March 22 and 23, 2019, resulted in the hacker gaining access to personal information related to credit card applications from 2005 to early 2019 for consumers, applicants and small businesses. Capital One detected the breach on July 19. Among the personal data exposed were names, addresses, dates of birth, credit scores, transaction data, Social Security numbers and linked bank account numbers.
If you become a victim, you should consult with an expert immediately. You will need to respond directly to IRS and complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Also, the Federal Trade Commission recommends following steps:
- File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
- Contact one of the major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records:
- Consider a credit freeze instead of a fraud alert for even greater protections.
- Contact your financial institutions, and close any financial or credit accounts opened without your permission or tampered with by identity thieves.
Also, to protect your identity, you should:
- Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use strong passwords.
- Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies and even the IRS.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
- Protect your personal information and that of any dependents. Don’t routinely carry Social Security cards, and make sure your tax records are secure.
For more information, please visit << https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams>>