The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) takes identity theft seriously and reminds taxpayers that tax filing season is a time to be aware of identity thieves looking for ways to commit tax fraud.
The department points to phishing schemes, card-skimming devices, unsecure Wi-Fi networks, data breaches, computer viruses, unsafe smartphone apps, and hacking email accounts as ways identities are stolen.
Thieves steal Social Security Numbers (SSN) and use them to file a fraudulent tax return. Often taxpayers are unaware this has occurred until they attempt to file a tax return and learn one has already been filed using the SSN. This is not limited to adults, and the deceased and children with an SSN may be affected as well.
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 look at the bottom left corner of the browser to verify the exact URL.
- Use strong passwords and never share your passwords. Along with changing 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.
Arizonans can contact 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.
In fiscal year 2020, the Arizona Department of Revenue’s fraud prevention system has stopped more than $19 million from fraudulent tax returns, which is three times the amount compared to last year.