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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Guard Against Identity Theft During Tax Season


During tax season, there is no better time for Montana's taxpayers to be mindful of the threat of identity theft. The Montana Department of Revenue would like to remind taxpayers of ways they can avoid the threat.
Here are some ways you can minimize the threat of identity theft:

  • Use a secure internet connection if you file your taxes electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office if you file by paper.
  • Protect your personal computer by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software.
  • Shred copies of your tax return, drafts, or calculation sheets you no longer need.
  • Respond to all mail from the Montana Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as soon as possible.
  • Know that the department and the IRS will not contact you by email, text message, or social media. If the IRS needs information, they will contact you by mail. The department will contact you by mail or phone.
  • Don't give out your Social Security number on the phone, through the mail, or on the internet unless you know for certain who you are giving the number to.
  • If your Social Security number has been compromised, contact the IRS ID Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
  • Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year to make sure no other accounts have been opened in your name.
  • Consider setting up a security freeze on your credit information so no one can access it without your permission. Contact the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) to request a security freeze.
The Department of Revenue takes its own precautions to guard against identify theft, including working closely with the IRS and other states on fraud protection activities, while increasing efforts internally to identify potentially fraudulent tax returns. You can read more at: revenue.mt.gov/fraud-prevention.
For more information about guarding against identity theft and what to do if you think you're a victim, go to the Department of Justice's identity theft website at dojmt.gov/consumer/identity-theft/.