Every year, millions of Americans become victims of identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personally identifiable information and pretends to be you. They can use this information to open bank or credit card accounts, file taxes, or make new purchases in your name.
It is important that you take steps to protect your Social Security number from theft. If someone obtains your Social Security number, they can use it to get other personal information about you, including your bank or credit information. Someone can steal your Social Security number by:
- Stealing your wallet, purse, or mail;
- Obtaining personal information you provide to an unsecured site on the Internet;
- Rummaging through your trash; or
- Posing by phone or email as someone who needs information about you.
If someone asks for your number, you should ask why, how it will be used, and what will happen if you refuse. Make sure you give your employer and your financial institution(s) your correct Social Security number, so your records and tax information are accurate.
To minimize the risk of identity theft, keep your Social Security card and any other documents that show your Social Security number in a safe place. Do not carry your Social Security card or other documents with you that display your number unless you need them.
If you suspect someone’s using your Social Security number for work purposes, report the problem to Federal Trade Commission immediately.
If someone misused your Social Security number to create credit or other problems for you, immediately go to www.idtheft.gov and report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Their website provides detailed information to help you defend against identity theft. You can reach them by phone by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261.
You may also want to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and file an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Safeguarding your identity and Social Security is of the utmost importance. If you think you’re a victim of identity theft, please act now.
Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.
This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.
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