Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week Aims to Educate Consumers about Scams
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Jan. 25, 2016) – With tax season beginning, the Federal Trade Commission has announced Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week for 2016, and the National Credit Union Administration has new online resources to help consumers protect themselves.
NCUA has updated its tax identity theft resources page (opens new window) on the MyCreditUnion.gov (opens new window) consumer website. The page includes useful information for preventing or reporting identity theft that may be perpetrated using fake contacts that appear to be legitimate Internal Revenue Service requests for taxpayer information. Credit unions are encouraged to share this information with their members.
“Cyber hackers and old-fashioned thieves can trick people into divulging personal and financial information not only during tax season, but all year long,” Board Chairman Debbie Matz said. “NCUA has an ongoing commitment to protecting and educating consumers, helping them understand how they can prevent theft and informing them where to get help should they become victims of fraud.”
Consumers should be aware the IRS does not initiate contacts with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week for 2016 (opens new window) runs from Jan. 25 through Jan. 29.
The U.S. Department of Justice reports that, in 2014, 17.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft with estimated losses of $15.4 billion. Tax season is a particularly busy time for identity thieves, and the IRS itself can be a target. IRS paid about $5.8 billion in fraudulent tax refunds in 2013 while preventing about $24 billion in cases in which it was able to detect and prevent fraud.
MyCreditUnion.gov (opens new window) also has numerous resource pages with information to help credit union members understand and prevent identity theft and protect themselves from other frauds and scams. NCUA also has videos describing how to fight against fraud on its YouTube channel (opens new window).