Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How to Avoid Identity Theft Tax Fraud

We are amidst the age of technology!  People are using their mobile phones, laptops, and smart devices for everything from social media to banking.  While it is convenient for users to have everything in the palm of their hands, it also makes identity theft extremely convenient for cyber criminals.  Tax-related identity theft has risen in recent years as a top scam.  In order to avoid tax refund theft, review the following information:

What Is It?
Identity theft tax fraud is a scam where criminals file fake tax returns under the stolen information of an unsuspecting taxpayer.  The criminal then claims the refund from the IRS before the legitimate taxpayer files his or her actual return.

How Does It Work?
A criminal obtains personal information on a taxpayer including their name, address, contact information, and Social Security number.  This personal information is used to file a fraudulent tax return.  Often times, the criminal will claim the refund via direct deposit in a new account.

How To Detect It?
Do you know the warning signs of tax return fraud?  If you are doing your taxes this season, make sure only one tax return was filed using your Social Security number.  You should also check with the IRS to make sure you do not owe additional taxes, or have documented “wages” or “income” from an employer you did not work for.

How To Reduce Your Risk?
The best way to prevent tax return fraud from happening is taking precautions.  Use security software, firewall, and anti-virus protection on your devices.  You should also have a strong password for all of your online accounts.  If you receive a suspicious email, do not open any links or download any attachments.  The measures you take to protect your personal data now can save your tax records in the future.

At McHenry Savings Bank, we take identity security very serious.  Our online and mobile banking is safe and convenient for our customers.  With the latest technology in e-banking, you can trust our team will do everything to secure your accounts and transactions.  To learn more about banking security, please visit our website at https://www.mchenrysavings.com/Security/securitycenter.html or call 815-385-3000.