Consumers Concerned about Identity Theft during Tax Season
For some consumers, tax season is a joyous occasion where they find out just how much money they’re getting back as a tax refund. But this joy is now tempered, according to a new survey from Experian. Approximately 42% of survey respondents say they are concerned about identity theft as they file their tax return, and 28% of respondents have been a victim of tax fraud or know someone who has.
There are a number of situations that can lead to identity theft, especially with today’s technology. Tax season puts consumers in a more vulnerable position because of the personal information provided on their tax returns. 76% of consumers say they are aware of the risk of identity theft and tax fraud, an increase of 20% over the last two years.
In order to protect yourself while filing your taxes, make sure you work with a reputable tax preparer or a software system with built-in security and encryption programs. After filing your taxes, monitor your financial accounts and credit report so you can report any unauthorized activity as soon as possible. Only 12% of Experian’s respondents said they planned to check their credit reports after filing, but doing so could significantly decrease your risk of costly identity theft.
It is important to note that IRS representatives will only contact you by phone or through mail correspondence. Do not respond to text messages or emails from people claiming to work for the IRS. Those messages are attempts to gather personal information from you that may be used to steal your identity.