Tips to Avoid IRS Tax Fraud During the 2014 Tax Season

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1-800Accountant offers tips on how to avoid tax fraud and scams during the 2014 IRS tax season and beyond.
1-800Accountant offers tips on how to avoid tax fraud and scams during the 2014 IRS tax season and beyond.

Over the past several years, technology has opened the door to a major increase in the number of scammers stealing personal information from others to file fraudulent tax returns and claim tax refunds for themselves. It often takes lots of time and effort to get these issues resolved with the IRS and get the refunds to those who are actually owed them. To reduce your chances of becoming a victim of tax fraud, 1-800Accountant offers a few helpful hints:

1) File your taxes early.

Don’t waste any time getting your taxes filed. By filing early, you can reduce the potential of someone else filing a return in your name. This is because an IRS agent would see that two returns were filed using the same personal information. If your tax return is the first to appear on an IRS agent’s desk, any future fraudulent returns will be flagged.

2) Avoid giving out any personal information (especially your Social Security Number).

When it is possible, do not give out personal information to others that could be used as a key to your finances. This includes filling out forms in-person, giving out info over the phone, or giving it out online. It’s particularly critical to protect your Social Security Number at all costs. This number can be utilized in various ways, which could pose a tremendous problem for you and your family if someone with bad intentions gets access to it.

3) Be wary of scammers on the Internet.

Make sure that you are fully aware of online scammers. Their goal is to take advantage of naïve taxpayers. Some scammers pose as IRS agents and send out phishing e-mails to random individuals. They claim that these individuals’ returns need some kind of attention from them. In these messages, scammers request the Social Security Numbers of the taxpayers they’re targeting. The IRS generally communicates by phone or regular mail, so think twice about any messages that appear to be from the federal tax collection agency.

4) Keep all of your personal documents safe, in order, and easily accessible.

All of your personal documents should be organized, kept in a safe place, and easily accessible when you need to find them. Maintain both hard copies and digital versions of important paperwork, such as financial records and tax information. This is an excellent way to protect against potential hazards to your home or unanticipated technical problems with your computer. Also, you should make sure that your hard copies of documents are only accessible to certain individuals. Keep your computer password-protected and updated with the latest antivirus and antispyware software as well.

5) Check out your credit report regularly.

Since scam artists try to steal credit card information from others, it’s important for you to stay on top of your credit. There are a number of credit reporting services that offer a quick credit report to ensure that your credit situation is in good shape. Take note of any inconsistencies in this information.

6) Be leery about using mobile devices for inputting/accessing certain information.

Many of us use mobile devices for accomplishing simple tasks wherever we are. It’s usually best, however, to use a regular computer when accessing and processing financial data, especially when dealing with your taxes. Accessing information through a computer tends to be safer than doing so through another device.

1-800Accountant is here to help you avoid tax fraud, meet your IRS filing requirements, and stay compliant – all at the same time during the 2014 tax season and beyond. To learn more, call 1-888-749-01171-888-749-0117 or visit www.1-800Accountant.

Image credit: The image included in this article is used with permission via the Creative Commons license through Flickr.

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