- Associated Press - Friday, April 11, 2014

As the April 15 tax filing deadline approaches, tax refund fraud is a growing problem. Here are tips from the federal government on how to avoid becoming a victim and how to respond if you have become one.



-Don’t carry your Social Security card or documents that show your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

-Don’t give a business your Social Security number just because someone asks. Give it only when required.

-Check your credit report every 12 months.

-Secure personal information in your home.

-Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.

-Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or online unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.


-If you receive a notice from the IRS and you suspect your identity has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice.

-If you did not receive an IRS notice but believe you’ve been a victim, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245.

-Report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov or the FTC Identity Theft hotline at 877-438-4338.

-File a report with the local police.

-Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax - https://www.equifax.com, 800-525-6285; Experian - https://www.experian.com, 888-397-3742; TransUnion - https://www.transunion.com, 800-680-7289.

-Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

For more information:

IRS: https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-for-Taxpayers,-Victims-about-Identity-Theft-and-Tax-Returns-2014

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