Tax identity theft continues to be on the rise. To combat risk, the IRS is making fraud and identity theft a top priority. Unfortunately, the burden falls on you to protect yourself. Here are some tips to help:
Get your refund faster with direct deposit
The IRS can deposit your refund directly into your account. Direct deposit refunds are received much faster than mailed refunds. Here’s more information about setting up direct deposit with the IRS.
Expect your tax forms and your refund
W-2s and tax forms must be sent by the end of January. If you didn’t receive your forms, reach out to your financial institution to find out when they were mailed. Many institutions, including 1st United, offer an electronic tax form option, which may be safer than mail.
Typically, the IRS will issue your refund in less than 21 calendar days of receiving your return if you file electronically. Knowing when to expect your refund is a good way to combat theft. The IRS offers a “Where’s My Refund?” online tool so that you can track your return. Information is updated daily.
Carefully choose your return method
Filing online is a safer option than mail and you’ll receive your refund faster. If you choose to file by mail, do not put your tax return in a community mail drop or an outgoing mail bin at work. Instead, take the return to a post office or a secured mailbox.
Beware of suspicious pop-ups
If you are filing taxes online, be aware of out-of-the-ordinary pop-ups asking for personal or financial information. This could be an attempt to steal your personal information.
The IRS does not email or text
Don’t fall prey to fraudulent IRS emails or text scams. Attachments and website links contained within fraudulent emails could contain viruses or fraudulent methods to steal your personal information, some claiming that you must “Update your IRS file.” If you receive an email from the IRS, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IRS does not demand immediate payment
The IRS has also reported a phone scam involving an aggressive caller claiming to be from the IRS. The victims are told that they owe money to the IRS which must be paid immediately or they are at risk for arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver’s license.
The IRS will never call and demand immediate payment, especially if you have not already received a bill. They will give you the opportunity to question or appeal any amount owed and they will never threaten to bring in law enforcement to arrest you. If you suspect fraud, contact the IRS.
Protect yourself through education and by remaining aware. If you feel that you have been a victim and that your 1st United Credit Union accounts may have been compromised, call our Member Contact Center immediately at (800) 649-0193. We can add additional protection to your accounts.
Please consult your tax advisor for more information about your particular tax situation.