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The IRS has listed a few common-sense suggestions that can make a big difference. Please consider these steps to protect yourself from identity thieves.

Keep Your Computer and Mobile Phone Secure

Use security software and make sure it updates automatically.

Essential Tools Include:

  • A firewall

  • Use virus/malware protection, make sure it is current.

  • File encryption for sensitive data.

  • Use 2-Factor Authentication

  • Treat your personal information like cash, don't leave it lying around.​

  • Check out companies to find out who you're really dealing with.

  • Give personal information only over encrypted websites - look for "HTTPS" addresses.

  • Use strong passwords and protect them.

  • Backup your files.

Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card company and even the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.

Avoid Phishing and Malware

  • Avoid phishing emails, texts, or calls that appear to be from the IRS and companies you know and trust, go directly to their websites instead.

  • Don’t open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is, even then BE CAREFUL.

  • Download and install software only from websites you know and trust.

  • Use a pop-up blocker.

  • Talk to your family about safe computing.

Protect Personal Information

  • Don’t routinely carry your social security card or documents with your SSN.

  • Do not overshare personal information on social media.

  • Information about past addresses, a new car, a new home, and your children help identity thieves pose as you.

  • Keep old tax returns and tax records under lock and key or encrypted if electronic.

  • Shred tax documents before trashing.

  • Avoid IRS Impersonators.

  • The IRS will not call you with threats of jail or lawsuits.

  • The IRS will not send you any unsolicited email suggesting you have a refund or that you need to update your account.

  • The IRS will not request any sensitive information online.

These are all scams, and they are persistent. Don’t fall for them.

Forward IRS-related scam emails to

Report IRS-impersonation telephone calls at

Additional Steps:

  • Check your credit report annually; check your bank and credit card statements often.

  • Review your Social Security Administration records annually: Sign up for My Social Security at

  • If you are an identity theft victim whose tax account is affected, review for details.


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