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Tax time! Protect your personal information and refund when filing taxes


Thu, Apr 6th 2023 10:15 pm

Taxes are due April 18 – use these tips to prevent identity theft and fraud

By the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection shared advice to help New York taxpayers prevent identity theft and tax fraud. Taxes are due Tuesday, April 18. Filing promptly and observing the following tips can help keep your personal information safe and speed your refund.

File promptly using e-file. Filing your tax returns as soon as possible can reduce the likelihood that an identity thief will be able to claim a fraudulent tax refund using your stolen information. Filing electronically is also safer, faster, and more efficient than sending paper returns through the mail.

If your 2022 federal adjusted gross income (AGI) is $73,000 or less, you may be eligible to e-file both your federal and New York state returns at no cost through the Tax Department’s website using Free File. If you do not qualify to use one of New York’s Free File software providers, you still have choices. See Other e-file options to learn more.

Direct deposit your tax refund: By choosing direct deposit for your tax refund, you'll reduce the risk of a lost or stolen paper check – and receive your refund up to two weeks sooner than having it mailed.

Protect data and documents used to prepare your return. Keep sensitive personal information and documents safe during and after the filing process, and delete or shred once no longer needed.

Be wary of unsolicited emails and telephone calls asking for personal information. Never share personal information, such as your Social Security number, in response to an unsolicited email or telephone call. If the email or call claims to be from a company with which you do business, call it first to confirm the contact is legitimate. Scammers will also use scare tactics and threats related to tax debt to get you to share your personal and financial information.

Use strong passwords. Create different passwords for all your accounts. When it comes to passwords, the longer the better; 14 characters is the current industry standard. Use a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols. Consider passphrases, where you use the first letters of a memorable phrase to create a complex password that is difficult to guess. Regularly change your passwords/passphrases.

It's important to regularly review the steps necessary to secure your sensitive information and protect against identity theft affecting your tax records.

"Take precautions to safeguard your confidential data at tax time and throughout the year,” said New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Amanda Hiller. “Keep paper tax records and information in a safe place. And beware of cybercriminals trying to steal online data and personal information to file fraudulent returns for refunds.”

“Scammers and cybercriminals use tax season as an opportunity to steal sensitive data from unknowing individuals, and it’s critical for New Yorkers to be aware of these potential scams,” said New York State Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “As we near this year’s tax filing deadline, I urge all New Yorkers to follow these tips and take all the necessary precautions to protect their personal information both during and after the tax filing process.”

Report it: If you're a victim or believe you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft, alert the Tax Department immediately. We will track your information to help keep it private and protected. Visit the Tax Department's Report fraud, scams, and identity theft webpage.

For more taxpayer scam information, also visit the Division of Consumer Protection's Taxpayer Scam webpage. For additional identity theft prevention and mitigation resources, call the consumer helpline at 800-697-1220 or visit the Division’s Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Program webpage.

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