Many people are aware of the dangers of identity theft but may not realize how quickly it is growing or the numerous areas in which it can occur. Did you know, for example, that identity theft reports to the Federal Trade Commission jumped by nearly 50 percent in 2015, to almost half a million claims? Here’s another surprising statistic: Tax refund fraud is considered the biggest and fastest-growing kind of identity theft. If you’re not sure how to respond to or protect against tax identity theft, the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants offers some timely answers:
Watch out for wage discrepancies.
Scammers will sometimes use someone else’s Social Security number when applying for a job because they don’t have their own Social Security number or to avoid paying taxes. The employer will then report their earnings to the IRS using the stolen number. When tax time rolls around, you will receive an IRS notice reporting an error in your tax return because it doesn’t include the income reported by the identity thief’s employer. Once again, respond immediately by following the instructions in the notice.