It’s tax season, which means that most Americans are currently in the process of filing their taxes or awaiting their tax returns. As returns and updates about your taxes begin to come in, it’s important to be aware of possible mail fraud from companies and scammers claiming to be the IRS.
If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, make sure to contact your bank and the actual IRS immediately. Having your social security number compromised can be incredibly dangerous, and must be reported as soon as possible in order for you to get the proper help you need.
The IRS website states that they never “initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media to request personal or financial information, call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests, call, email or text to request taxpayers’ Identity Protection PINs.”
Here are some steps to stay safe against mail fraud:
Learn the signs: There are many signs that someone may be trying to steal your identity or tax return. These include, but are not limited to: getting a piece of mail about your taxes that you did not request, being unable to file because of a duplicate social security number, a letter that states you owe more than you were previously told, mail that suggests you created an online account that you did not create.
If any of these things happen to you, you should report it immediately by either contacting the sender, or reporting the sender by contacting your bank, accountant, or the IRS.
Protect yourself: In order to prevent mail fraud, it is important that you do not give your address, social security number, or any other personal information to strangers or online forms. Make sure to keep your passwords up to date, and pick passwords that are hard to guess and unique.
Take action: If you receive suspicious mail claiming to have information about your tax returns from someone who claims to be the IRS and requests something from you, report it immediately. You can report mail fraud to the USPS directly, and reach out to the official IRS to let them know you believe your information has been compromised. If you are unsure about whether the mail you received is fraudulent or not, contact your accountant or tax service provider for confirmation.
At Southgate at Shrewsbury, we want all of our residents to feel safe and to be aware of the uptick in fraudulent letters as you await your tax returns. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to someone and ask for help. Mail fraud and identity theft is unfortunately common, but it can be caught and stopped if you know the signs and how to protect yourself.