It’s the time of year many people are focused on the holidays and not thinking about tax season. But the IRS warned Thursday that protecting personal information now is the key to protecting your tax return later.
The IRS met with Department of Revenue Services from multiple states in Washington D.C., to roll out a new campaign to help you keep your tax return from getting stolen.
The new initiative is called "Taxes Security Together”.
Tax officials are getting the word out via You Tube and the IRS website so fewer people end up like Cynthia Flanigan.
“Somebody had already filed Connecticut state taxes using my social security number and name,” said Flanigan.
Tax officials are putting more emphasis on the public pitching in to help combat identity theft.
“We all need to be working together on it,” said Commissioner Kevin Sullivan of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Service. “The IRS, the state tax agencies, the industry, tax preparers and frankly tax payers as well.”
IRS officials said this new campaign is right on time because the holiday season is approaching and tax season is coming up.
While are shopping this holiday, tax experts want people to guard personal information. They warned that during all the shopping huge amounts of financial and tax data are being shared.
Identity thieves can steal personal information and in a couple of months file a tax return in your name.
“In our state we intercepted three times as much fraud as we have in the past,” said Sullivan. “That is partly because we got better at it.”
But criminals are also getting better at stealing your information. Tax officials said each year, criminals come up with new ways to steal identities.
“These are crimes,” said Sullivan. “And they are often global criminals, and quite frankly this is now one of the ways that global terrorism is supported.”
IRS officials said it's often the things people do online, like shopping and clicking on links that phish your information, that makes them vulnerable to identity theft.
For more information visit the IRS website.