Tax-related identity theft is surging across Ohio and the United States, with a national taxpayer advocate telling Congress that the IRS has nearly 650,000 active cases.
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Dealing with tax-related identity theft
To avoid identity theft, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office suggests:
• File your taxes as soon as possible.
• When filing online, make sure that the website is secure (the address should begin with “https”).
• Avoid using “tax preparers” who promise significantly higher refunds than other organizations.
• Ensure that the tax preparer holds the appropriate credentials to review your taxes.
• Check the tax preparer’s reputation with the Ohio Attorney General and Better Business Bureau.
• Never sign a blank tax form.
• Ask questions and review your tax return thoroughly before signing and filing anything with the IRS.
• Check your mail frequently; thieves may steal tax-related documents and personal information from mailboxes.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section has created an Identity Theft Unit to help victims rectify the effects of identity theft. The unit offers traditional assistance and self-help assistance.
Consumers who believe they are a victim of identity theft should file a notification with the Ohio Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or (800) 282-0515. Consumers also can visit www.IRS.gov for more information.