Michigan AG: Here's How To Avoid Identity Theft This Tax Season

WWJ News
January 28, 2020 - 10:51 am

(WWJ) Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is urging the public to stay informed, be vigilant, and avoid identity theft as tax season gets underway.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses stolen personal information – for example, a Social Security number (SSN) – to file a phony tax return and claim a person's tax refund.

Tax Day in 2020 is Wednesday, April 15

To avoid becoming a victim of tax season scams, Nessel suggests that Michiganders to take the following steps: 

  • Do not give out your SSN unless there’s a good reason, you’re confident you’re giving it to someone authorized to request the info, and you know how they will protect it.
  • File your tax return as early as you can.
  • If you file electronically, use a secure internet connection.
  • If filing by mail, send your tax return directly from the post office.
  • Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over your personal information and never send your personal information in a text or email.
  • Review the IRS’ Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft and Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers.
  • REMEMBER: The IRS will never call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests, nor will they ask you to wire money, pay with a gift card or prepaid debit card, or share your credit card information over the phone.

The IRS is often the first to inform a victim that their identity has been stolen, Nessel said. 

The AG encourages those who find they are victims of any type of identity theft to follow theses steps recommended by the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint

Be aware that even if a false refund is claimed and issued in your name, identity scammers do not actually steal your refund. If you are legally entitled to a tax refund, being a verified victim of tax-related identity theft will not change that, Nessel says. Your refund may be delayed, but you will eventually receive it. 

During Tax-related Identity Theft Awareness Week, Nessel's office will be sharing information to raise awareness and motivate consumers to ensure their personal information is protected.

“Beginning today and through Friday, Jan. 31, my office will share tips to ensure Michiganders are equipped with the necessary tools to spot and stop thieves this tax season and beyond,” said Nessel. “Bad actors stop at nothing to get our personal information and it’s imperative that everyone knows the signs.”

All of the info will be posted in a special section on the AG’s homepage. You can also follow the AG’s Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram accounts to see the most up-to-date to date consumer alerts throughout the year.