As there are more and more data breaches affecting consumers, identity theft issues area at an all-time high. It is the number one complaint reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Judging from recent news reports, this doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The Equifax data breach exposed more of consumer’s personal information than the company first reported according to documents recently given to lawmakers. If you ever must deal with these issues, early detection could mean the difference between a painful experience and a disastrous one. A good way to proactively recognize that you have a potential identity theft situation is to request and review copies of your tax account transcripts from the IRS and credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies.
IRS transcripts can show early signs of identity theft and should be reviewed periodically. They are available for free on the “Get Your Tax Record” web page at www.irs.gov. It is easy to sign up, and in less than 15 minutes of time you will have the details of your last four years of tax data. Spend some time comparing the details to your recently filed tax returns along with your W-2’s and forms 1099 that you have received.
Of course, your credit report may show the first signs that someone has misused your information, so it’s important to check your report at least once a year if not more often. You have the right to obtain a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three primary credit reporting companies—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—at www.annualcreditreport.com.
If you think you may have been a victim of identity theft, please give us a call immediately as we will want to ensure that the IRS is notified as soon as possible.