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Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week: "Big Game" Strategy for Tackling Cybercriminals

Monday, January 31, 2022

Blog topics:  Archive

By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

As the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams prepare for the “big game” (and the rest of us prepare for the halftime show and the commercials), cybercriminals are already out there, using their playbook to try and “win it all” – when it comes to using your tax returns to steal your identity and your money.

Fortunately, because there’s a lot of value in being prepared and that “the best defense is a good offense”, there’s a lot of free online resources out there to help you.

Beginning today through Friday, Feb. 4th, it’s National Tax Identity Awareness Week. Launched by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a way to help consumers and business owners stay safe, it includes a variety of best practices and helpful tips for everything from filing your taxes to making sure that if you are due a refund that you receive it.

The IRS and the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) often see four types of cybercrimes directed at taxpayers, including:

  • IRS-Impersonation phone scams
  • Marked increase in phishing, email, and malware schemes
  • Fraudulent tax returns
  • Tax preparer fraud

To keep your personal information and your tax documents secure, be sure to follow a few simple tips:

  • Store your personal information in a secure location;
  • Make sure you’re entering your personal information on a protected website;
  • Choose a trustworthy tax preparer;
  • Do not carry your social security card with you;
  • Shred any documents with personal information on them if they are not needed;
  • Make sure you have firewalls, anti-spam/virus software and updated security patches on your computer;
  • Change your passwords regularly for internet accounts; and,
  • Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the internet unless you know for sure who you are dealing with.

To learn more, check out DOR’s Stop ID Theft website and if you’re the victim of identity theft, visit the Indiana Cybersecurity Hub website and the Report A Cyber Crime page for information on the steps you can take to report the incident and the state and federal resources that are available to help make that sure that it’s the cybercriminals who wind up taking the loss.