How are you protecting yourself from identity theft?
Identity theft is a very serious offense that can ruin your finances and credit scores. The effects of identity theft are so devastating that it is difficult to compensate for the loss.Here are some steps that help you prevent identity theft:Create strong passwords – Create strong passwords using random combinations of letters, numbers, symbols or special characters. Make sure you create different passwords for different accounts. If needed, you can change them also from time to time.Shred your sensitive documents – Never toss your sensitive information like your bank details or receipts in the trash. Always dispose it properly using a cross-cut shredder or shredding service.Always check and monitor your credit reports – Ensure that your check your credit reports occasionally. You can request one free credit report every four months and review it to scan for any incorrect information.Protect your Social Security number – Do not share your personal login credentials with any one at any cost. Never keep your social security numbers in purse or wallets.Be cautious when using social media – Be smart when updating your personal information like your birthdays, addresses or contact details. Make sure you strengthen your privacy settings. Also, be careful when accepting friend requests or connectionsKeep your phones safe – Make sure you secure your phone by keeping screen locks or put passwords, disable Bluetooth when not using it and be careful while downloading any free software version.Learn how to detect phishing frauds – Do not open any unsolicited email attachments, embedded links, SMS or answer any phone call asking to reveal your personal information.Review and monitor your financial statements – If you find any suspicious activity in your bank or credit card accounts, report it to your respective bank immediately.Secure your mails – Swipe off unknown mails to prevent identity theft. Using a locked mailbox or P.O. Box is a good idea
How do I report identity theft to the IRS?
I would go to their official page and once you're at their official website, I would use their search engine on their homepage. There i would put in your question and it should bring you up to the spot where you can write a complaint on their website.also if you were victimized online you can contact the FBI at the following addresshttps://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
My ID and computer were stolen out of my car. How can I prevent identity theft?
You can’t.If someone is planning on using your identity for theft, there is nothing that you can do to prevent it.You can, however, mitigate it by taking several steps:File a police report - In the report, detail all of the items which were taken, no matter how insignificant that you think that they are.Contact all of your credit issuers and your bank and have your cards cancelled - The sooner that you do this, the better. Credit card companies legally can only hold you responsible for the first $50 in charges (almost all of them waive the charges) and your bank has to replace any fraudulent withdrawals made from your account as long as you report the theft within 60 days.Place a fraud alert on your credit reports - This will be a huge pain in the ass for as long as you have it on them, but it will prevent people from easily receiving credit using your identity.Contact the local library if you have a card and tell them that you have lost your card - Many people forget this and it’s a bad idea to do so because A) A crook can check numerous new and expensive books and videos on your account and sell them. B) The crook can have the library give them a copy of the form that you completed to obtain your card. That document has personal information on it which may not have been in your wallet.Check your driving record with your state licensing agency - The crook may attempt to pass himself off as you during traffic stops and that could lead to your being fined or arrested for outstanding traffic violations. Also, you might wish to check to see if any titles were issued to you for any vehicles that you may own or not own as crooks can use your ID to get a new title for your vehicle and either get a loan against it or steal it later and then sell it.Contact your medical insurer - A crook can use your medical insurance card to charge healthcare and dental work and to obtain prescription medicines (especially painkillers) to sell.Check your cell provider and see if additional phones or mobile devices have been issued in your name - A crook could obtain numerous new phones on your account and then sell them at a profit. Or use them until they are caught.Check your state’s corporation bureau/Secretary of State - A crook (or whoever he sells your identity papers to) could start a business using your information. This could put you tens of thousands of dollars in debt (or more) and result in numerous agencies looking for you (actually, the crook pretending to be you) for a wide variety charges.Keep a copy of your police report with you at all times - While the police have grown used to ID fraud, some may still detain or arrest you if you are pulled over. Having a copy of the report will make things far less difficult if you are stopped or detained.Expect the unexpected - There many ways that your ID can be misused by a skilled ID thief. From buying aircraft and boats on your credit, to purchasing firearms, to obtaining Internet service in your name and then using it for fraud or for downloading child pornography, if your identity is indeed compromised, you should ready for whatever might happen.Good Luck.
Identity theft: How dangerous is it to toss out old catalogs and other junk mail without obliterating my name and address from them?
It's extremely dangerous for anyone to know your name and address as nothing would prevent such a person from knocking on your door and then saying your name, combined with some form of greeting, when you opened the door. Even if you wisely choose never to open your door, such a person could say your name while you were on the other side of that door, in a foyer perhaps, which you would be forced to hear. This person could just say your name outloud anywhere, in a bar or a Starbucks, and act like he or she knew you, and if anyone says otherwise, respond, "well then how do I know his home address?"
How can one file fake tax returns and collect tax refunds?
The IRS gives numbers every year of quite how much fraud there is. If I recall, this year's numbers said that 21% of tax returns had "EITC errors on them." And while that's the most common form of identity-theft related fraud, it's just one of many. Now I'm sure may of these are indeed errors and not identity theft, but cynically I'd personally say most of these are from people who make up children, make up SSNs, try to claim children that their spouse is already claiming, misquote their income, etc.And the truth is our culture has given up on preventing identity theft. I'm really not a cynical person, but we've largely shifted from "it's the company's job to prevent it," to "it's the company's job to have insurance," to "it's your job to spend time shredding things, etc." to "it's your job to have insurance." That's the thing. It takes nothing more than someone filling out a form online to steal your tax refund, nothing more than fake numbers to steal your or your dependents' SSNs when filing, nothing more than fake salary to increase that number to $10K.Yes, the IRS will figure it out. In today's world they may figure it out in 10 seconds, but a certain number of them will get through. Of 100M returns, the ones that don't get through will still take time, budget, and political support to go after. Either way they'll assign you a PIN, basically an identity alias that you file with in the future, locking your account without it. You may have to file on paper for the foreseeable future. But like all identity theft, no matter what the IRS or your tax professional does to help, it'll still be a nightmare to clean up, because someone's going to want their 10K back, stores will want their back-charged expenses and inventory back, etc. You're going to be on hold for a looong time...
How can I fill out an IRS form 8379?
Form 8379, the Injured Spouse declaration, is used to ensure that a spouse’s share of a refund from a joint tax return is not used by the IRS as an offset to pay a tax obligation of the other spouse.Before you file this, make sure that you know the difference between this and the Innocent Spouse declaration, Form 8857. You use Form 8379 when your spouse owes money for a legally enforeceable tax debt (such as a student loan which is in default) for which you are not jointly liable. You use Form 8857 when you want to be released from tax liability for an understatement of tax that resulted from actions taken by your spouse of which you had no knowledge, and had no reason to know.As the other answers have specified, you follow the Instructions for Form 8379 (11/2016) on the IRS Web site to actually fill it out.