I will be talking about tax refund fraud on Fox national news with Shepard Smith today in the 3 pm ET hour. The bottom line is this: If you think a crook may have your social security number, go to the IRS Web site and download form 14039. Complete the form and send it to the IRS. You will then get a PIN number to file your taxes. Crooks don’t have the PIN, so they can’t use your information to get a tax refund in your name.
The latest security breach, which took place at health insurer Anthem, was announced yesterday. From an affected person’s standpoint, the Anthem breach is the worst type that could happen. The breach involved social security numbers, which creates an “all access pass” for an identity thief.
For starters, the SSN allows crooks to open new credit card and other financial accounts in the victim’s name. This time of year, a criminal could use your information to get a big tax refund, which will create a huge problems for you when you try to file your tax return, as it will be rejected by the IRS.
In general, identity theft is a crime that has lingering effects and is a gigantic hassle for the victim. The Anthem breach has opened the door for this to happen for up to 80 million people.
If you are a person affected by the breach. Here are the things you can do to stay safe:
Put a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit reporting accounts with all three credit reporting agencies.
File an “identity Theft Affidavit (form 14039) with the IRS.
Watch your bank accounts and credit card accounts and report unusual activity.
Be extra vigilant when you receive emails or phone calls from someone claiming to represent an organization you do business with. Never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited contact.
For more information about this, please feel free to download my handout, “Preventing Identity Theft”, which can be found here: