As the April 15 tax filing deadline approaches, tax refund fraud is a growing problem. Here are tips from the federal government on how to avoid becoming a victim and how to respond if you have become one.
TO PROTECT AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT
—Don't carry your Social Security card or documents that show your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
—Don't give a business your Social Security number just because someone asks. Give it only when required.
—Check your credit report every 12 months.
—Secure personal information in your home.
—Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.
—Don't give personal information over the phone, through the mail or online unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.
IF YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE A VICTIM
—If you receive a notice from the IRS and you suspect your identity has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice.
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