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Coinciding with the first day of tax season, the Federal Trade Commission has dubbed January 29 – February 2 as ‘Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week’. The goal is to provide Americans with facts about tax ID theft and tips to help prevent tax fraud. Here are the highlights from Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week – Day One.

Tax Identity Theft Webinar Provides Eye-Opening Statistics

On the first day of Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, the FTC and ITRC (Identity Theft Resource Center) offered up the free ‘Tax Identity Theft Warning Signs & Recovery Steps Webinar’. Much of the webinar focused on “What is tax identity theft?” and how to avoid it. However, the webinar did provide some statistics that really got our attention.

We have covered extensively the sheer amount of time that can be spent recovering your identity, should it be stolen. What most people don’t consider is the psychological and physical effect having your identity stolen can have on you. In their 2017 study ‘Identity Theft: The Aftermath’, the ITRC found some extremely disturbing data. They conducted a survey of former identity theft victims and their answers bring a great deal of insight as to how a person can be affected.

  • How distressing was the misuse or attempted misuse of your personal info?
    • 75% were severely distressed
    • 17% were moderately distressed
    • Less the 2% were uneffected

Over ¾ of victims were severely distressed. This is staggering and leads into the next set of data…

  • Behavioral & Physical Reactions Caused By Distress
    • 48% encountered sleep disturbances
    • 37% felt an inability to concentrate
    • 35% felt fatigue
    • 34% encountered headaches
    • 27% encountered panic attacks
    • 25% sought professional help
    • 20% turned to family and friends
    • 13% wanted professional help but couldn’t afford it

Identity theft doesn’t just affect you financially, medically or criminally, it can cause mental, physical and behavioral issues.

This is why having an identity theft recovery service, such as ReclaimMyID on your side BEFORE an encounter is extremely important. These services will do all of the legwork to recover your identity, assets and put everything back together. Not only does this save you time, but it will save you stress and even help prevent physical or mental reactions to these stresses.

To learn more about Reclaim My ID, click HERE.

IRS Imposter Scams Remain A Threat

Many of us are aware of the numerous IRS imposter scams that have been ongoing for the past few years. Basically, someone will call you and pretend to be an employee of the IRS. They will inform you of an issue with your taxes that must be remedied immediately to avoid consequences or jail time. They will expect immediate payment and can be very forceful and believable. Many imposters will even go so far as to rig the caller ID to come up as IRS or with a 202 area code (Washington D.C.). Here are a few tips to help you avoid being scammed:

  • The IRS will almost always try and contact you via mail before making a phone call.
  • The IRS will never expect immediate payment via a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.
  • Don’t believe e-mails claiming to be from the IRS. This is a common follow-up after an imposter phone call.
  • If you have any doubts, call IRS at 800-829-1040.

Imposter scams have been decreasing since October 2016, but it is still important to notify the proper authorities if you encounter one. Please contact the following with any information:

  • TIGTA = Treasury Inspector General for TAx Administration
    • 800-366-4484
  • FTC
    • 877-FTC-HELP

These are the highlights from Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week – Day One. We will keep you updated with information from the rest of the week. Your security during tax season is our #1 objective.

A Free Guide on How To Secure Your Identity & Protect Your Data