It’s no secret that identity theft is a huge issue and an ongoing problem. Nearly 445,000 Americans reported some form of identity theft in 2018.
To help citizens better avoid and react to identity theft, the IRS launched Identity Theft Central in February 2020. This page is a hub of information about identity theft, including protective measures and what to do if you’re a victim.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is classified as someone stealing your personal information (name, address, social security number, financial information, etc) and using it without your permission. Thieves can get this information a variety of ways: data breaches, mail theft, credit card theft/skimmers, phishing, and wifi hacking, just to name a few.
There are also several ways thieves use your information, including:
- Making purchases with your credit/debit cards and/or withdrawing money from your bank accounts
- Opening credit cards in your name
- Filing false insurance claims
- Filing a fraudulent tax return
Adults aren’t the only ones susceptible to identity theft. Child identity theft is common and may not be detected until your child is older and tries to open a bank account, get a credit card, or take out a loan. This ruins their credit before they’ve even had a chance to start building it. If your child starts getting pre-approved credit card offers in the mail and they’re not of age, that’s a big red flag that their identity may have been stolen. If you think this is happening to your child, contact a credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) and let them know that you believe there has been fraud with your child’s identity.
How Identity Theft Central Can Help
Identity Theft Central on the IRS website is geared toward helping citizens who are victims of, or believe they are victims of, tax-related identity theft. With tips on protecting your identity and what to do if you’re a victim of identity theft, it is a great resource.
Identity Theft Central also provides information for tax professionals and businesses that may be victims of identity theft. As serious as identity theft is for individuals, it’s even more serious for businesses or professionals, as customer/client data may also be at risk.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
If you would like to learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft, please schedule a consultation with Steward Ingram & Cooper PLLC by calling (919) 872-0866 orfilling out our online contact form. Don’t forget to visit Identity Theft Central.