Last year, as we were filing a client’s tax return, we were notified by the IRS that a return had already been filed under that Social Security number.
After doing some research, we found that identity thieves had swooped in early and filed a fraudulent tax return, claiming a large refund which had been direct deposited in their bank account.
We then had to submit additional proof that our client was the rightful owner of the Social Security number before their return could be processed – a long and laborious process, as you can imagine. And unfortunately, that wasn’t an isolated instance – we had several clients walk in our doors who have experienced this unsettling fraud in the last few years.
It seems that identity theft is all around us and becoming common place. The good news is that there are steps you can take on a daily basis to minimize your risk. Here are some quick tips:
• Stay vigilant and know what is being reported on your credit
• Order a free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com
• Order a free report of checking accounts opened in your name from www.consumerdebit.com
• Be alert for statements that don’t arrive on time – the mailing address may have changed.
• Review not just your bank and credit card statements, but review your health insurance statement of benefits, too. Health insurance fraud is a booming business.
• Take the time to mail your bills from the post office rather than leaving them in your mailbox.
• Shred credit card offers that come in the mail, or better yet, request to stop receiving them at www.optoutprescreen.com
• Monitor your minor children’s credit report; a child’s Social Security number may be compromised for years before it is discovered.
• Online, don’t forget to change your passwords regularly and never click on any links in an e-mail from someone you don’t recognize.
Contact our office and we will mail you a free FTC Guide “Taking Charge: What to Do if Your Identity is Stolen,” which is full of helpful tips and resources.
Visit www.marshwealth.com or call 865-622-2162.
Financial Planning & Investment Advisory Services are offered through Marsh Wealth Management, LLC, an independent investment advisor registered with the state of Tennessee. Yvonne Marsh is an Investment Advisor Representative of MWM. Marsh Professional Group, LLC is a TN registered public accounting firm and a separate legal entity from MWM. For a detailed discussion of MWM and their investment advisory fees, see the firm’s Form ADV on file with the SEC at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov.