Tax fraud is always on the rise this time of the year. A breach in the IRS last year allowed the thieves to steal names, addresses, Social Security numbers and more from thousands of individuals. It is possible these crooks will use the information to file fake tax returns in 2016.
In an effort to prevent fraud, the IRS has changed their efile system so that tax preparers can enter driver’s license information (or other state ID) along with the tax return. By actively monitoring your credit reports, it allows you to be proactive in stopping thieves from using your information.
Your credit score is one of the most important factors of your financial life.
Banks use it to decide whether to give you a credit card or loan. Some service providers use it to determine whether you should pay a security deposit. Car insurance providers consider your credit score when setting your insurance rate.
There are credit monitoring services such as Life Lock, Experian Credit Tracker, The Simple Dollar and Identity Shield to name a few. There are also free credit monitoring services. These services examine online sources and alert you when a change has occurred that will affect your credit, such as the opening of a new credit card or the purchase of a vehicle. Particularly if your job involves travel, this may be well worth considering the service.
In addition to monitoring your credit with a credit monitoring service, each of the major consumer credit reporting agencies is required by law to provide you with a free report once a year. Your free report is available from the three major credit reporting agencies; Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
If you find problems or think your identity has been compromised work through the credit bureau’s process to correct the error. Place fraud alerts on your credit agency account should you be subject to any kind of identity fraud. Be vigilant and monitor your credit.