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How to Protect Yourself from Tax Return Fraud

by Deb Rehorst, GWB Fraud Manager

Tax season is upon us. Monday, January 29th is the first day the IRS will begin accepting electronic tax returns.

Most forms of tax refund fraud are due to some type of identity theft. After the Equifax data breach, year-end tax planning may be even more important. Social security numbers were among the data exposed in the Equifax hack, which affects up to 143 million people.

Experts say the best defense against fraud is an informed consumer. Everyone has a role in protecting personal data. The best defense is a good offense.

The following steps can help you reduce the risks of tax return fraud.

  • Prepare to file early. By getting organized now, you will be ready to go when it’s time. 
  • Review your most recent tax return. Note any changes. 
  • Watch for red flags. The IRS warns that receiving certain tax documents or IRS notices can be a red flag for employment-related identity theft. 
  • Monitor online accounts. This should be done regularly.

For more information on avoiding tax return fraud, visit the IRS website. The IRS has put measures in place to help curb the instances of tax refund fraud. Additional safety tips can be found on the GWB website at our Fraud Prevention Center.

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