• James D. Lynch

Identity Theft Remains on IRS "Dirty Dozen" List Despite Progress

Despite a steep drop in tax-related identity theft in recent years, the Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers that the scam remains serious enough to earn a spot on the agency’s 2019 “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund. Reversing the damage caused by identity theft is often a frustrating and complex process for victims.

The IRS reminds taxpayers to do their part to help in this effort. Taxpayers should:

● Protect personal data. Don’t routinely carry a Social Security card, and make sure tax records are secure.

● Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails and threatening phone calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies and government organizations, including the IRS.

● Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.

● Always use security software with firewall and antivirus protections.

● Use strong passwords.

The IRS “Dirty Dozen” list is compiled annually and outlines a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to help with their taxes. Don’t fall prey.

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