TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi is urging Floridians to take action to prevent identity theft in recognition of Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. To raise awareness about ID theft and related scams, the attorney general is initiating a week-long twitter campaign to highlight important tips to avoid becoming a victim.
Follow Attorney General Bondi on Twitter @AGPamBondi for this week’s Tax Identity Theft Awareness tips and much more.
Consumers should know that tax identity thieves can easily access personal information by:
· Going through trash cans and dumpsters to search for bills and documents with sensitive information;
· Calling or emailing individuals to trick them into revealing personal information; and
· Posing as a legitimate tax preparer for the purpose of accessing information.
The following tips should be taken to avoid identity theft and tax fraud:
· File tax returns early in the tax season;
· Use a secure internet connection when filing electronically. Do not use unsecure, publicly available Wi-Fi hotspots;
· Mail tax returns directly from the post office, not from your home;
· Know that the IRS will never initiate contact by email, phone, text or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will first contact by mail;
· Do not give out Social Security numbers unless absolutely necessary;
· Get recommendations and research a tax preparer thoroughly before providing personal information;
· If your Social Security number has been compromised, contact the IRS ID Theft Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490; and
· Check credit reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com to make sure no unauthorized accounts are opened in your name.
Consumers can file complaints about tax-related scams and other types of fraud by calling the Attorney General’s toll-free fraud hotline at 1 (866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.