Protect Yourself: Don't Let the Equifax Breach
Come Back and Bite You at Tax Filing Time
Things move quickly in this era of the internet and social media. Yesterday's news is quickly erased from our memories and replaced with today's headlines ...
An example of this is last Fall's Equifax breach (announced on September 7th, 2017). This breach quickly fell off the news radar.
That's not good because this devastating data compromise could now come back to bite the approximately 145 million Americans affected by the Equifax Breach.
How and Why?
Social Security Numbers. Social Security Numbers were part of the data put at risk by the breach.
Those stolen Social Security Numbers can serve as fodder for crooks to file fraudulent tax returns and gain access to your tax refunds. As we enter the 2017 tax filing season, you and other taxpayers need to be aware of this existing danger and take pro-active measures to protect yourselves.
So what can you do to help avoid a fraudulent return being made with your Social Security Number?
- File your Return as early as possible
- Take steps to prepare yourself for a quick, but accurate filing
- Start gathering documentation, receipts, and records from your employer (or 1099's), financial institutions, charitable donations, student loans, mortgage holder, property tax escrows, deductible expenses, etc. NOW
- Make yourself a list of ALL the items you will need to file your Tax Return
- Check the items off as you receive them
- Monitor/Check websites of Credit Cards, financial institutions, etc. for online access to documentation needed
Should you then wish to monitor the status of your filed Tax Return, you can download the IRS2Go.app. To do this you will need:
- Your Social Security Number (or ITIN)
- Your Filing Status
- Your EXACT Refund Amount
But you must always remain aware that no one can ever let their guard down ...
Even if you escaped the effects of the Fall 2017 Equifax Breach, it remains vitally important for you to continuously monitor all your accounts (including Student Loans, Utilities, Cell Services, Retirement Accounts, Investment Accounts, and Tax Returns/Refunds) on a consistent on-going basis.
To accomplish this, I urge you to thoroughly review your FREE Credit Report (minimally once a year) by going to annualcreditreport.com. If at any time you find you have been compromised, take action immediately. Then go to IdentityTheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338 and report the compromise.
Continue to act pro-actively on your own behalf. Stay vigilant regarding the safety and security of your finances, credit, and debt.
If you have questions regarding the above, feel free to reach out to me ... or seek the advice and services of your own professional tax advisor. If you need a referral to a reliable New Lenox/Chicagoland-area tax advisor, please contact me. I'd be happy to pass along the name/contact info of a reputable professional in your area.
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