Scammers will be on the hunt for your information so that they can file a tax return in your name and get a refund from the IRS. Some scammers will get that information from hackers who have successfully conducted data breaches from major organizations such as Hyatt Hotels, Scottrade, and the Office of Personnel Management in the federal government. Others might work locally by following postal carriers, like package thieves who follow UPS and FedEx trucks, to steal tax documents with sensitive personal information from W-2’s and 1099’s. With this information, the fraudster can file an IRS return in your name.
The IRS says that it is implementing procedures to detect fraud such as working with software filing companies to be alerted when a mobile device is used to file more than one tax return, when the same IP address is used to file more than one return, or when a tax return is auto-generated instead of filed by a live person.
You can protect yourself from mail theft by using a locking mailbox. If you don’t have a locking mailbox, ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail as soon as it is delivered. Also, keep track of the tax documents that you should be receiving. If by mid-February you have not received your documents, call the originator and ask why you have not received them. If one was sent to you, and you did not receive it, consider placing an immediate credit freeze with the major credit reporting bureaus.
Another measure to protect yourself is to file your income taxes as soon as possible. Try to get ahead of the fraudster.