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Protect Yourself and Your Parents from Tax Fraud

Protect Yourself and Your Parents from Tax Fraud

Keep an eye out for warning signs and reduce your vulnerability with a few simple tips.

A disturbing trend may be endangering the financial security of you and your parents: Identity thieves are stealing other people’s personal information and using it to file tax returns. These criminals file fraudulent returns, hoping that IRS processing weaknesses will prevent them from being identified before they receive a refund. These scammers are stealing money from the government while also hindering your ability to file a genuine tax return and receive a refund – not to mention creating undue stress as you take efforts to rectify the situation. It’s important to be aware of this scheme and take steps to prevent this from happening to you and your loved ones.

Identity thieves often file fraudulent tax returns as early as possible in an effort to have the bogus return processed before you can file your own legitimate return. You may therefore be unaware you’ve been victimized – until you attempt to file your taxes.

Warning Signs

It’s important to be on the lookout for IRS notices that appear to be inaccurate. Warning signs may include notices indicating that more than one tax return was filed with your Social Security number, you owe an additional tax that appears to be inappropriate or records show you have received wages from an unknown employer. These warnings may indicate that you or your parents may have been defrauded in a tax scheme.

Prevention Tips

There are several ways to reduce your family’s chances of becoming a victim of tax return identity fraud:

  • Keep your Social Security number, as well as other personal information, stored in a secure place (i.e., not your wallet), and avoid mentioning it on the phone or online unless absolutely necessary
  • Consider installing extra security on your computer
  • Be sure to check your credit report and Social Security Administration earnings regularly, looking for anything suspicious or irregular
  • Be aware that the IRS does not routinely email, make phone calls or communicate through social media. Any communication from those sources is likely to be fraudulent and should immediately be reported to [email protected].
  • Assume that unexpected calls from the IRS urging you to give or confirm financial information are fraudulent and should be reported to

Consider an IP PIN

In some instances, you may be eligible for a number called an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN). An IP PIN is a six-digit number given to qualified taxpayers to help prevent the filing of false tax returns. Once a taxpayer obtains his or her unique IP PIN, all of his or her tax returns must be filed using this number, which can help ensure that no other fraudulent returns are filed. Please note that this PIN is different than the four-digit e-file signature PIN, which is used for filing online returns.

If you are interested in obtaining an IP PIN, you can register your PIN by following the steps at

For more information on IRS tax return fraud and prevention methods, visit


 Sweet Financial Services is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC

Article provided by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.
This information, developed by an independent third party, has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. This information is not intended as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security referred to herein. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. The material is general in nature. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Raymond James Financial Services,Inc. does not provide advice on tax, legal or mortgage issues. These matters should be discussed with the appropriate professional.

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