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National Insurance Crime Bureau

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week

Tax season is upon us. As consumers wait for tax-related documents to be delivered to their mailboxes, thieves are lying in wait, ready to intercept. According to the Federal Trade Commission, tax identity theft is one of the top types of ID theft reported. Using stolen personal information, which can be found on tax-related forms, identity thieves can file phony tax returns and collect the refund.  

Identity theft can have lasting, damaging effects. Here are some ways that identity theft can cause harm: 

  • Insurance information may be stolen and used for medical services, leading to the policy reaching the maximum payout.  
  • A social security number can be used to open new credit accounts or apply for a loan, tanking the victim's credit score.  
  • Worse yet, crimes may be committed using a stolen identity, leaving the victim with a criminal record. 

Tips to Prevent Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft: 

  • Shred or tear up personal financial documents before discarding them. 
  • Do not print personal identifiers such as your social security number, date of birth or driver’s license number on your checks. 
  • Use your social security number only when absolutely necessary. 
  • Only reveal information online when the website is securely protected (look for a yellow padlock symbol in the corner of your computer screen). 
  • Do not provide personal, financial or any other identifying information to a telephone caller. Ask for the caller’s name and telephone number, and then check to see that the caller is legitimate. 
  • Pay attention to your credit card billing cycles, as identity thieves may reroute bills to another address to hide criminal activities involving your accounts. 
  • Carefully review all monthly credit card statements and check for unauthorized use. 
  • Get a copy of your credit report at least once a year to check for possible errors. 
  • Minimize the number of cards and identifying information you carry, especially your social security card and passport. 
  • Before revealing any information – online, over the phone, or in person – ask how it will be used. 

During Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), will be sharing tips like these and more to keep our members and consumers prepared. 

 

Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

 

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting, and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through Intelligence & Analytics, Learning & Development, and Strategy, Policy, & Plans. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $530 billion in insurance premiums in 2020, or more than 82% of the nation's property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 95% ($236 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.