Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week Is January 29th Through February 2nd

With tax season in full swing, the Federal Trade Commission has designated January 29th through February 2nd as Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. In an effort to help you avoid becoming a victim of tax identity thieves and IRS imposters, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office encourages consumers, tax professionals, small business owners, and veterans to take part in a variety of special events being hosted online and through social media during this upcoming week.

The Federal Trade Commission, Internal Revenue Service, AARP, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration will be co-hosting free webinars and Twitter chats on topics that include scams targeting tax professionals, cybersecurity, protecting client data, how to minimize your risk of tax identity theft and how to recover if identity theft happens to you. For information on additional topics, details on how to participate, dates and times of these events, visit ftc.gov/taxidtheft. 

 Tax related identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job.Unfortunately, you might not find out a fraudulent return has been filed using your personal identifying information until your legitimate e-file is denied and returned, you receive a letter from the IRS alerting you that a return using your social security is considered suspicious, or that IRS records show you have wages from an employer you don’t know

 So how can you reduce your risk?

  1. File early!
  2. Use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections.
  3. Avoid threatening calls, texts or phishing e-mails from thieves posing as IRS agents.
  4. Use recommendations and research tax preparers thoroughly before using their services.

 For more information regarding Tax Payer Identity Theft, or if you are a victim of this crime, contact the Lee County Sheriff Office Fraud Line at 258-3292 or by email at fraudline@sheriffleefl.org . You can also find additional assistance at www.IRS.gov/identitytheft .