With tax season currently here, it’s quite sobering to know that your Social Security number is exposed more so this time of the year than at any other time. For instance, your Social Security number is vulnerable to potential fraud when you receive your tax return via mail delivery. Not only that, but fraudsters will use this time of the year to aggressively send misleading emails which appear to have come from a reputable source to try and get you to provide your Social Security number.
Here are some of the most common tactics that fraudsters will use during tax season:
1. IRS Phishing Scams
Phishing is a tactic used by Internet-based scam artists to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal or financial information. During tax season, phishing scams often take the form of an e-mail that appears to come from a legitimate source like the IRS. Always remember the IRS never initiates unsolicited e-mail contact with taxpayers about their tax issues.
If you happen to receive an email that appears to have come from the IRS it would be a good idea to forward it to the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Tax Return Preparer Fraud
Most tax return preparers are professional, honest and provide excellent service to their clients, but some engage in fraud and other illegal activities for financial gain. I recently read a few articles about tax preparers who were caught selling their clients’ Social Security numbers. Before you pick a tax preparer, ask around first. Get referrals from friends and family on who they use and check the BBB Reliability Report on tax preparation services at www.bbb.org.
In the event you’re having problems with your Federal tax returns and it involves the misuse of your Social Security number, it’s recommended you resolve the issue with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS has a toll free number to assist with questions related to tax problems. The toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040 or you can visit their website at http://www.irs.gov/ to get more information.