3 ways to protect yourself against tax fraud

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When you file your tax return to claim the nice refund you expected, you might be in for a nasty surprise: a rejection notice, indicating that your return has already been filed. Clerical error? No, it’s the telltale indicator that you’re a victim of tax ID fraud.

All a crook needs is a few pieces of personal information and your Social Security number to try and snag your tax refund.

It's estimated that more than 750,000 taxpayers fell victim to Tax ID fraud in 2016. Moreover, the average case takes 10 months to resolve, and in the meantime, you could find yourself turned down for a loan because of discrepancies between your tax records and those of the IRS. Or worse, you could find the IRS asking you to return money that it paid out in your name to a scam artist.

Take these 3 steps to keep your information safe:

  1. Order your IRS transcript at irs.gov to see what the IRS has on record for you in terms of tax payments and refunds.
  2. Guard all bank account information and your Social Security number, at all times. These are the ingredients for tax ID fraud and you don’t want to make it easy for the bad guys.
  3. The IRS itself has recommended that taxpayers use Internet security software that includes firewall protection and antimalware to keep data, computers and devices safe. Consider a product such as ESET Internet Security (for Windows®) or ESET Cyber Security Pro (for Mac®).