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Protecting Your Tax Refund: Here’s How

Protect Your Tax Refund from Fraudulent. (Photo: USC Credit Union)

Protect Your Tax Refund from Fraudulent. (Photo: AOL)

Identity theft extends beyond criminals opening credit cards and incurring debt in your name; it also threatens your tax refund. Although the IRS works hard to prevent fraudulent returns, you are the first line of defense in protecting your data and identity.

Don’t act only during tax season: protect your personal information all year. When tax season arrives, scammers need more information to file a fake tax return and steal your money.

READ ALSO: Tax Refund 2023: Here’s How to Track Your Refund

Protect Your Tax Refund from Fraudulent. (Photo: Tax Preparation)

How to Stop Tax Refund Fraud

Criminals make it their business to discover and exploit your personal information; however, you can make it your business to prevent fraudulent tax returns from being filed in your name. 

  1. Never respond to an email, text message, or social media contact from the IRS. The IRS only communicates with taxpayers via postal mail. Any suspicious or fraudulent contacts should be reported to [email protected].
  2. Don’t give anyone claiming to be from the IRS your personal or financial information.
  3. Safeguard your personal identity information. 
  4. Check your credit report regularly.
  5. Keep all tax documents you receive.
  6. Don’t put it off until the last minute. 
  7. Get an identity protection pin.

How to Recover a Stolen Tax Refund

If you are a victim of tax identity theft, you must act quickly. To report tax fraud, follow these steps:

  1. To report that your tax return was rejected due to a duplicate tax return filed using your Social Security number, fill out IRS Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit.
  2. Respond immediately to any IRS notice sent in response to your affidavit. For specialized identity theft assistance, call the agency at 800-908-4490.
  3. Notify all of your financial institutions that you have been a victim of identity theft.
  4. To report identity theft, go to and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  5. Set a fraud alert on all three major credit bureaus’ records:
  • Experian: 800-525-6285
  • Equifax: 800-525-6285
  • TransUnion: 800-680-7289

6. Consider requesting a credit freeze from each major credit bureau.

It would be good to take extra precautions to protect your tax refunds.

READ ALSO: IRS 2023 Tax Filing Season: When Will You Receive Your Tax Refund?

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