Whoever files a tax return first with any given social security number is the one that initially gets a refund and the filing of your real tax return gets held up for quite some time.
Can’t happen to you? Hmmmm……don’t be so sure.
Just last week the Regional Income Tax Agency, known as RITA, who handles city taxes for many, many cities in Ohio, announced a large data breach that appears to have included the names, addresses, social security numbers, etc of over 50,000 Ohioans. This is the information that is used for identity theft. A DVD containing prior year tax returns came up missing in November and can’t be located.
Here is an article from January 5, 2016 from Newsnet5
Here is the info on the RITA data breach from the RITA website. People affected should be receiving letters from RITA by January 8th.. According to RITA the letters will include information on credit monitoring that will be available through Experian.
Here is the list of cities that are members of RITA.
Here are some of the ways it can happen:
- dishonest employees at businesses you visit that have your personal info
- data breaches at companies you deal with
- workers to your home or business where your sensitive info is kept
- computer hackers
- phone calls when you believe you are giving info to trusted sources
Reducing your risk:
- Don’t carry around your social security card or anything with that number on it
- Don’t give your social security number to anyone or any business unless you absolutely have to
- Lock up documents at home and at work and hide the key
- Use firewalls and anti-virus protection on computer
- Don’t EVER give out your social security number to anyone on the phone
- Check your credit reports at least annually
Get your own tax return filed first. It is a race to file. Whoever files first is who gets the refund.
Normally don’t get a refund? Doesn’t matter. Incorrect income amounts can be used to qualify the return for credits that cause a refund.
What to do if it happens to you:
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
- Contact the credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your account (Experian, Equifax, Transunion)
- Close any financial accounts opened without your permission
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice received. A Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit will need to be filed.
- Continue to file your own tax return