During tax season and beyond, it’s important to stay alert to suspicious activity and keep your personal information safe.
According to the IRS, “tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.” The warning signs of possible tax-related identity theft include being contacted by the IRS about:
- More than one tax return was filed for you,
- You owe additional tax, have a refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return, or
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work
Identity theft is not only frightening—it can be costly. With constant changes in technology, there are always new risks. If anything causes concern, report suspected fraud immediately to your bank and credit reporting agencies. If you become a victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends:
- Filing a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
- Contacting one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records.
- Closing any financial or credit accounts opened by identity thieves. To report suspicious activity on Busey accounts, visit a convenient location or contact our Customer Care team via busey.com or by calling 1.800.67 | Busey.
Below are a few basic tips to help reduce your risk of being a victim of identity theft:
- Shred. Shred anything containing personal information before disposing of it. Reduce your risk of fraud by signing up for eStatements—no shredding required and access to your statements anytime.
- Lock. Password protect your devices and use unique, complicated passwords for your online accounts. Use a combination of letters/numbers for your passwords and change them periodically.
- Secure. Never log in to financial accounts or shop online using public Wi-Fi. Ensure your internet at home is password protected.
- Monitor. Review your credit report annually and bank accounts regularly. Look for suspicious activity and errors that could signify identity theft.
- Detect. With antivirus software, you can help detect and protect against cyber criminals.
For more information on steps to take if you’ve been the victim of identity theft, visit IRS.gov/identitytheft or FTC’s identitytheft.gov. You can also check Busey's Money Matters blog for additional information on security-related topics.