Taxpayers encouraged to take essential steps to reduce risk of ID theft
Income tax filing season is underway – and taxpayers are advised to be aware of the threat of identity theft and to take essential steps to reduce their risk.
The warning was shared by Union County State’s Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds in conjunction with the observance of Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, which was Jan. 29 through Feb. 2.
Edmonds advised taxpayers to take the following precautions:
Avoid And Report IRS Impersonators
The IRS will not call you with threats of jail or lawsuits. The IRS will also not contact you by text, email or social media. Report IRS impersonators at https://www.tigta.gov.
Keep Your Computer Secure
Routinely install software updates to your computer or configure it to automatically update.
Run a firewall and antivirus software. Perform regular backups.
Only download and install software from websites you know and trust.
Do not allow remote access to strangers claiming to provide technical support.
Secure Your Online Accounts
Use strong passwords and don’t use the same one for multiple accounts.
Never share private information on websites that aren’t encrypted; look for the HTTPS in the address.
Do not access online accounts from public or otherwise shared computers.
Avoid Phishing Threats
Do not share private information by email. Do not click links in email; go directly to websites to log into them.
Do not open an attachment in an email unless it’s something you expected from someone you know.
Do not accept random calls from people claiming to provide technical support.
Protect Private Information
Keep important documents locked away securely. Shred documents containing private information before throwing them away. Do not share private information on social media.
For additional tips on how to secure your identity, download the IRS’s guide at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4524.pdf.
If you are a victim of tax identity theft, go to https://www.irs.gov/identitytheft for details about the steps to take.