April 7, 2021
With tax season approaching, fraudsters will try to use clever tactics to obtain your personal information. In some cases, fraudsters have been impersonating the IRS requesting personal information via email, text or social media.
To help you stay protected, we are providing some tips that can help prevent you from becoming a victim.
- File early. File your tax return as soon as you’re able. Give criminals less time to use your information to file a false return.
- File on a protected Wi-Fi network. If you’re using an online service to file your return, be sure you’re connected to a password-protected personal network. Avoid using public networks like a Wi-Fi hotspot at a coffee shop.
- Use a secure mailbox. If you’re filing by mail, drop your tax return at the post office or an official postal box instead of your mailbox at home. Some criminals look for completed tax return forms in home mailboxes during tax season.
- Find a tax preparer you trust. If you’re planning to hire someone to do your taxes, get recommendations and research a tax preparer thoroughly before handing over all of your financial information.
- Beware of phishing scams by email, text or phone. Scammers may try to solicit sensitive information by impersonating the IRS. Know that the IRS or OceanFirst Bank will never contact you by email, text or social media.
If you believe you’re a victim of tax identity theft or if the IRS denies your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1.800.908.4490. In addition, you should:
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice and complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
- Contact your bank immediately, and close any accounts opened without your permission or tampered with.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records:
- Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 1.800.525.6285
- Experian, www.Experian.com, 1.888.397.3742
- TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 1.800.680.7289