Tax season is well underway, and that means your tax refund—and your identity—are in play for identity thieves looking for an easy payday.
Tax identity theft is a fast-growing crime, impacting more than 260,000 victims a year and costing the IRS more than $3 billion in fraudulent tax refunds.1 In 2016 alone, the IRS reported a 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents related to this crime.
“Tax refund fraud is a growing problem and it impacts hundreds of thousands of tax payers each year,” said Kevin Quinn, vice president of claims for Mercury Insurance. “There are a number of proactive steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim, however, and it costs very little money to protect yourself and your family’s sensitive information.”
Taxpayers can protect themselves by learning how to spot some of the most common scams criminals use to steal valuable personally identifiable information. Here are a few of the more common scams used by fraudsters.
It’s important for taxpayers to remember that the IRS first contacts people with a letter in the mail if there is an issue with tax payment. The agency will never initiate contact through email or social media, nor will it ever demand immediate payment of taxes or make threats to involve local police for not paying.
Follow these five tips to protect yourself:
Take action now before a thief steals your identity or tax refund. Mercury Insurance customers can get identity management help for less than $3 per month from our partner, CyberScout. Speak to your Mercury agent (yes, Mercury is one of the companies we represent) about this valuable coverage today.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Cecil Williams -
Emerge Insurance Agency
5991 Chester Avenue, Suite 103
Jacksonville, FL 32217