It is now more important than ever to shred documents containing personal information and have anti-virus software and firewall protections on your computers, along with creating strong passwords on websites. The identity of millions of individuals continues to be stolen by thieves each year in the United States.
Today’s thieves are going after more than just old bank statements, but also old tax returns, and they are not just rooting through the trash, but are often using skimmers to collect credit card information or getting information electronically through poorly safeguarded personal computers.
One of the lesser-known types of identity theft is tax identity theft. Tax identity theft occurs when someone steals a person’s personal information, often obtained through old tax returns, and uses it to file current fraudulent tax returns to receive a tax refund. According to the Federal Trade Commission, tax refund fraud is the largest and fastest-growing identity theft category.
To draw more attention to this crime and what people can do to protect themselves, I have authored a resolution designating Jan. 25-29 as Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, more than 300,000 American taxpayers had their tax return details stolen because of a 2015 security breach, and approximately $1.6 billion in fraudulent tax refunds were paid in 2016 related to identity theft.
In addition to using stolen information to get a tax refund, thieves may also use stolen Social Security numbers to get a job. You may be the victim of tax identity theft if you receive a letter from the IRS saying more than one tax return was filed in your name, or IRS records show you have wages from an employer you don’t know. If you suspect a letter, email or telephone call about your tax records is a scam, call the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at 717-787-8201 or the IRS at 800-829-1040. If you suspect you have been the victim of identity theft, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at identitytheft.gov
Stay up to date on the latest information by checking my website, RepMackenzie.com
, or by following my Facebook page, Facebook.com/RepMackenzie
, or to find which events we are holding in the district that can help protect you from tax identity theft.
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Matthew Deegan
RepMackenzie.com / Facebook.com/RepMackenzie