Protecting Yourself and Your Child’s Identity At Tax Time

identity thiefA common scam that cyber criminals pull on innocent victims around tax time is to file your taxes for you, so they can receive your tax return, which is often worth hundreds, and even thousands of dollars. See, around tax time, information is flying all over the place online. All of this activity can lead to scammers phishing for credit cards and Social Security numbers, although, this is such a busy time of the year that perpetrators often go unnoticed. Tax time is essentially the perfect breeding ground for cyber criminals.

Let me let you in on the second part of this very vicious tax scam, and that involves your children. Scammers will oftentimes claim your kids on your taxes, so they can receive your tax breaks. Not only that; most children are not as jaded and on-guard about identity theft because they are too young to own credit cards, which makes them sitting ducks for cyber terrorism and identity theft. Imagine all the scams that your children are left vulnerable to, all because of their age.

Protecting Your Children From ID Theft

A savvy scammer could receive credit cards in your children’s name once they are 18 years of age because they’ve stolen all your children’s identity information. WARNING: If you try to claim your kids on your taxes and you are unable to, then someone has probably claimed your income taxes, and your children for you already, just waiting for you to pay your taxes for second time and receive your tax return. If this happens, contact the IRS at once to quickly rectify the situation.

The time that it takes to fix an identity fraud case with the IRS can vary depending on the severity of the scam pulled against you. If you feel that you have been scammed, is only wise to check with your credit card provider to see if your credit card has been used by anyone else other than you. Also, you want to check to see if there have been charges added to your credit card that are not yours. If you are suspicious of fraudulent activity executed in your name or identity fraud with your Social Security number, it is only wise to set up a fraud alert to automatically contact you, just in case it discovers any charges to your credit card that seem a little out of whack.

There are a handful ways that your cyber security can be breached and identity theft can take place, from having your purse or wallet misplaced or stolen or providing your social security number to an unscrupulous salesperson that requests it. Identity thieves have been known to rummage through people’s trash to find items that link to potential victims, not to mention the spyware that gets automatically downloaded on computers every day from visiting the wrong website or downloading the wrong movies. It is also possible for a computer virus to hack the auto fill information in your browser to gain access to Social Security and credit card information that you have previously filled in.

The best way to protect yourself is to keep your Social Security card at home, so in the case that your wallet is lost or stolen, identity thieves do not have access to your Social Security number. Please make sure that you always keep your computer up to date with the latest antivirus software and as an extra precautionary measure, it would be wise for you to file your taxes online, because if there is a problem and someone is attempting to file your taxes for you, you can rectify the situation quicker if you file online, whereas if you file in person, it could take seemingly forever to resolve these issues.