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Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud

Post Date:03/20/2017 1:00 PM

Incidents of tax fraud are on the rise this time of year as millions of Americans file their taxes online. Sophisticated cybercriminals are actively looking to steal your identity to fraudulently claim your tax refund.

Be extra vigilant now through April 15. In most cases, all a criminal needs is your name, social security number and date of birth. Be extra cautious about sharing personal information online.

Take the following measures to protect yourself against online tax fraud:

  • Do not trust text messages, emails or phone calls from anyone claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and asking to share personal information.
  • Don’t give out your personal information, unless it is to an established, trusted entity.
  • Look out for phony messages or websites claiming to be from the IRS or tax preparation services. These websites can look quite legitimate so do your due diligence in spotting a fake.
  • Beware of promises offering “free money” from inflated refunds.
  • Back up your data and store your electronic tax files securely.
  • Only share personal information over a secured network.

The IRS offers tips for filing taxes online; visit www.IRS.gov/Filing and the IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft at www.irs.gov/uac/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft  to learn more.

To report suspicious online or email phishing scams, please email phishing@irs.gov. To report phishing scams by phone, call 1-800-366-4484. If you have been a victim of identity theft in general, report such incidents to the Federal Trade Commission at www.IdentityTheft.gov.

Finally, as always, if you have been a victim of a crime contact the Santa Clara Police Department at (408)615-4700 or file a report online.

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