What is in your wallet or purse can make a big difference if it is stolen. Besides the credit cards and whatever cash or valuables you might be carrying, you also need to be concerned about your identity being stolen, which is a far more serious problem. Thieves can use your identity to set up phony bank accounts, take out loans, file bogus tax returns and otherwise invade your finances, and all an identity thief needs to be able to do these things is your name, Social Security number, and birth date.
Think about it, what’s in your wallet?
Most things you carry in your wallet, contribute to your identity. Your driver’s license has two of the three keys to your identity, your birth date and your address. If you also carry your Social Security card or Medicare card, bingo! An identity thief then has all the information he needs.
You can always cancel stolen credit cards or close compromised bank and charge accounts. Oh, but when someone steals your identity and opens accounts you don’t know about, you can’t take any action until it is too late.
So if you carry your Social Security card along with your driver’s license, reconsider that habit for identity-safety purposes.
What You Should NEVER Do:
Never provide financial information over the phone, via the Internet or by e-mail unless you are absolutely sure of with whom you are dealing. That includes:
- Social Security Number – Always resist giving your Social Security number to anyone. The more firms or individuals who have it, the greater the chance it can be stolen.
- Birth Date – Your birth date is frequently used as a cross check with your Social Security number. A combination of birth date and Social Security number can open many doors for ID thieves. Is your birth date posted on social media? Take it down. That goes for your children, as well.
- Bank Account and Bank Routing Numbers – These along with your name and address will allow thieves to tap your bank accounts. To counter this threat, many banks now provide automated e-mails alerting you to account withdrawals and deposits. However, if you do get an email alerting you to contact the bank. Back out of the email, and call your bank directly from the banks website, not the email phone number provided, as this is could be a phishing scam.
- Credit/Debit Card Numbers – Be especially cautious with these numbers, since they provide thieves with easy access to your accounts.
There are individuals whose sole intent is to steal your identity and sell it to others. Limit your exposure by minimizing the number of charges and credit card accounts you have. The more accounts that have your information, the greater the chances of it being stolen. Do not think all the big firms are safe; there have been several high-profile database breaches in the last year.
Are You Concerned About Scams, Tax Identity Theft and the Tactics Used To Steal Your Taxes?
You should be! At Worthtax, we want you to be aware that what’s in your wallet is used by identity thieves to scam you, especially when it comes to your tax refunds. If you have not received your refund, and you believe you may have become a victim of tax identity theft, visit our Tax Identity Theft Information Center or call Alex Franch, BS EA at 781.849.7200. He can help you with the paper work involved to restore your right identity with the IRS. We have locations in Quincy, Weymouth and Dedham.
Other Tax Identity Theft Help Articles:
- Phishing Scams and Tax Scams – Part 1 of 4
- Scams: Identify, Avoid Them – Part 2 of 4
- IRS Email Scam: Stop, Think, Delete Part 3 of 4
- Top 12 IRS Scams for 2016
- Tax Identity Theft, IRS v Massachusetts
- Pervasive Telephone Scams: Did you get a call from the IRS?
- Want Your Tax Refund Faster? Use Direct Deposit