Police Tips on Avoiding Identity Theft
The latest Precinct 4 PENS alert contains safety information with the current tax season in mind.
The following safety information has been provided by Precinct 4 of the Cobb Police Department:
Identity theft is a year round problem that often spikes around tax refund time.
Identity thieves can use a taxpayer's personal information to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund and the unsuspecting victim may not become aware until their own refund gets denied.
In other cases the identity thief may use the taxpayer's personal information in order to get a job. The victim remains unaware until the IRS sends out a notice indicating underreported income.
Identity thieves can access your personal information by many different means including: Stealing your wallet or purse Posing as someone who needs information about you through a phone call or email Looking through your trash for personal information Accessing information you provide to an unsecured Internet site.
According to the IRS, they do not initiate contact through email or social media websites for the purpose of requesting personal or financial information nor do they not send emails stating you are being electronically audited or getting a refund. Should you receive a scam email claiming to be from the IRS, forward it to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you believe you may be at risk for identity theft due to a lost or stolen wallet or questionable credit card transactions you should contact the IRS with proof of your identity.
Submit a copy of your valid government-issued identification, such as a Social Security card, driver's license or passport, along with a copy of a police report and/or a completed IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. These items can be faxed to the IRS at 1-855-807-5720 or you can contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit directly at 1-800-908-4490.
There are several simple things you can do to limit your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.
Make it a habit to remove your wallet or purse from the car. Shred bills or anything with personal information before putting it in the trash or have bills delivered electronically.
Avoid carrying your Social Security Card with you unless you know you will need it. Keep it in a secure place at home instead.
Never give out any personal identifying information through email or over the phone.
Only shop at websites that you are familiar with and that display a secure URL. (https)
If you pay your bills by check, use a drop box or the post office for mailing instead of the mailbox. A check includes your bank routing and account numbers along with your name, address, and phone number.
Be proactive and monitor your credit report. Consider a credit monitoring service and check your credit report every year. You can obtain a free report annually from each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies from https://www.AnnualCreditReport.com