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Due to the unprecedented increase in identity theft, security had become a huge issue. IRS has been working to combat identity theft and protect taxpayers’ personal and tax data. IRS has issued Publication 4524 that outlines some steps you can take to protect your important information:

Use security software and make sure it updates automatically; essential tools include:

  • Firewall
  • Virus/malware protection
  • File encryption for sensitive data

Treat your personal information like cash, don’t leave it laying around
Check out companies to find out who you’re really dealing with
Give personal information only over encrypted websites- look for “https” addresses
Use strong passwords and protect them
Back up your files

Avoid phishing emails, texts, or calls that appear to be from the IRS and companies you            know and trust, go directly to their websites instead
Don’t open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is
Download and install software only from websites you know and trust
Use a pop-up blocker
Talk to your family about safe computing

Don’t routinely carry your social security card or documents with your SSN. Do not overshare personal information on social media. Information about past addresses, a new car, a new home, and your children help identity thieves pose as you. Keep old tax returns and tax records under lock and key or encrypted if electronic. Shred tax documents before trashing.

Avoid IRS Impersonators. The IRS WILL NOT CALL YOU with threats of jail or lawsuits. The IRS will not send you an unsolicited email suggesting you have a refund or that you need to update your account. The IRS will not request any sensitive information online. These are all scams, and they are persistent. Don’t fall for them. Forward IRS-related scam emails to phishing@irs.gov. Report IRS-impersonation telephone calls at (www.tigta.gov).

Additional steps:

    • Check your credit report annually; check your bank and credit card statements often;
    • Review your Social Security Administration records annually: Sign up for My Social Security at (https://www.ssa.gov/).
    • If you are an identity theft victim whose tax account is affected, review (www.irs.gov/identitytheft). for details