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Be on Alert for Identity Thieves during Tax Season

Phoenix, AZ—Identity theft occurs year-round but the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) advises taxpayers to be on heightened alert during tax season. Combating tax fraud is a high priority for the Department and works continuously to enact safeguards to protect the public from identity thieves and scammers.  

In recent schemes, thieves impersonate tax personnel using phone calls, emails, or text to lure information such as Social Security Numbers (SSN), passwords, or banking information. Other scams may involve card-skimming devices, unsecured Wi-Fi networks, data breaches, computer viruses, unsafe smartphone apps, and hacking email accounts as ways identities are stolen.

The information thieves obtain is used to file a fraudulent tax return. Taxpayers may not be aware this has occurred until they file their taxes and learn one has already been filed using the same SSN. Delays in refunds can occur even if you are a victim and are left with the hassle of providing documentation as proof of identity to complete your return. 

Ten tips to help prevent being the victim of identity theft:

  • Do not carry identification with your SSN on it.

  •  If someone wants your SSN, always ask why because it is not always required.

  • Keep personal and confidential information in a secure place.

  • Take extra precautions when discarding personal or confidential information.

  • Protect personal computers, smartphones, and other devices by using anti-virus software.

  • Do not click on unexpected links, images, or attachments in emails. Check links before clicking by hovering over the link and looking at the bottom left corner of the browser to verify the exact URL.

  • Use strong passwords and never share your passwords. Remember to change your passwords at least every 90 days.

  • Never give personal information through unencrypted email, social media, or text messaging.

  • Check your credit report annually.

  • Monitor and examine your bank and Social Security Administration statements.

The Arizona Department of Revenue advises taxpayers to file early and take steps to protect their information.

ADOR’s Criminal Investigation Unit is cracking down on fraudsters this tax season. In a recent W-2 scam, companies have been targeted through a phishing email appearing to be from an executive requesting confidential payroll information. ADOR fraud detection systems review, check and match against employer W-2s, IRS, and other systems, which may take a bit longer to ensure that taxpayers get their money rather than fraudsters.

If you have been a victim of tax-related identity theft, notify the Department of Revenue’s Identity Theft Call Center at (602) 716-6300, toll-free: 844-817-9691, or https://azdor.gov/individual-income-tax-information/identity-theft.

If you suspect unemployment benefits fraud, see our guidance and contact the Arizona Department of Economic Security. 

The Arizona Department of Revenue’s fraud prevention system has stopped more than $83 million from fraudulent tax returns in the last five years.

 

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