Protect Your Identity At Tax Time

When someone steals your identity, it is very difficult to unravel the trail and straighten out your financial life. During tax season, it’s particularly important to be aware of who handles your personal information. That’s why we’re reposting this important blog.
by Tim Camus
Deputy Inspector General for Investigations, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

tax identity theft awareness week logoHave you ever wondered how ID thieves get their victims’ personal and financial information? One way you may not have thought of is dishonest tax preparers. Each year, Treasury agents investigate allegations of criminal misconduct by tax preparers — a group that plays an important part in our nation’s tax system.

During the past several years, my agents have investigated and worked with Department of Justice attorneys to prosecute tax preparers who sold their clients’ personal and financial information to criminals. These tax preparers abused the trust their clients placed in them to protect their sensitive information from tax-related identity theft.

Tax identity theft is a serious and sizeable problem. It costs our nation an estimated $3.6 billion a year. We want to hear from you if you think you may be a victim of tax identity involving:

  • a tax preparer who discloses client information to help others commit identity theft
  • an IRS employee who either discloses tax information or participates in the criminal activity
  • someone who impersonates the IRS (using logos/emblems/emails) as part of the identity theft scheme

Call our office at 1-800-366-4484 or visit us atwww.treasury.gov/tigta.

If you are looking for a tax preparation service this year, take the time to check reputation and qualifications. Don’t trust anyone with your sensitive information until you have assurances that they will treat it with the safeguards it deserves.

 

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.