If you think your information has been compromised, you are not alone! Identity theft and fraud continue to be major problems. Prevalent categories of fraud are employment or tax-related fraud, and phone or utility fraud. Credit card fraud remains the highest reported (86% of global consumers fall victim to identity theft), followed by employment or tax-related fraud. If you think your identity has been compromised, the first place you should visit is https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-central.
Identity theft has been on the rise for years, and 2020 was no different. In fact, because of the Covid-19 restrictions, many of us found ourselves relying on the internet for all kinds of shopping. We were online more than ever, creating a significant up-tick in identity theft claims. Thanks to Covid, hackers found another opportunity to wreak havoc on people’s lives. Because of the stimulus checks, thieves began conspiring ways to direct those payments to themselves. “Economic Impact Payments were designed to reach the neediest, not to line the pockets of criminals. The Eastern District of Texas is committed to fighting fraud and criminal activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” read more here: https://www.justice.gov/. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, have recommended filing your taxes early to avoid identity theft.
If you are a taxpayer and want to protect your identity when filing your federal tax return, you can request an identity protection PIN from the IRS. An Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using a taxpayer’s Social Security number. The IP PIN is known only to the taxpayer and the IRS, and this step helps the IRS verify the taxpayer’s identity when they file their electronic or paper tax return.
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