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Avoid Tax Time Identity Theft Scams

Protecting your personal information is as important as ever. Tax season is no exception.

Here are some of the ways crooks are tricking people for tax information:

  1. Phishing: Emails or websites that ask to provide “missing” personal information. The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers via email about a bill or tax refund.
  2. Phone Scams: The tax agency has issued a new warning about calls or texts from thieves posing as IRS agents warning about owing money and threatening arrest, deportation or other action unless you settle an outstanding balance via wire transfer or preloaded debit card.
  3. Criminal Tax Preparers: Tax return preparers who use personal information for refund fraud, identity theft and other crimes.
  4. Fake Charities: Solicitations pretending to be from charitable organizations. These criminal enterprises take money for their personal gain and often sell stolen credit card or banking information to others.

If you receive a suspicious email message, the IRS asks that you forward it to them at phishing@irs.gov. You can report IRS-impersonation calls at www.tigta.gov.

These are signs that you could be a victim of tax-related identity theft:

  • More than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number
  • You are notified you owe additional tax, have a refund offset or had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return
  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you never worked for

A Bureau of Justice Statistics survey found the average loss per ID theft victim was $1,343, and most spent at least a full day to clear up the issue, however some didn’t see a resolution for months.

Nobody has time for that. That’s why the NEA Auto and Home Insurance Program provider, California Casualty, provides free ID theft protection with every auto and home insurance policy.

Learn more at www.neamb.com/autohome.

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