Tax-related identity theft involves the theft and misuse of your Social Security number (SSN). It generally happens in one of two ways: someone uses your SSN to get a job and their employer reports that person’s income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as if it were yours, or someone uses your SSN to file for your tax refund. You may not even know your identity has been stolen until the IRS informs you of the unreported income or multiple tax return filings.
This tax season, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) are here to help. By taking a few proactive steps to keep your personal information private, you can reduce your risk of tax-related identity theft.
“Consumers should protect themselves from identity thieves, who are becoming craftier and more sophisticated every year,” said DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski. “There are many ways you can take preventative steps to keep your data safe and secure.”
Remember these tips to protect your identity this tax season:
- Never store your SSN on any device that may be vulnerable to malware or data theft.
- Install a mailbox lock or have your mail sent to a Post Office (PO) Box™ to prevent anyone from stealing sensitive information.
- Destroy unneeded documents containing personal information, such as your SSN or IRS account number, using a shredder or similar method.
- Sign up for federal and state Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers (IP PINs) to add an extra layer of security to your tax filings.