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Feb
18
Warning about Tax Related Identity Theft
Posted by Jo-Ann Guilmett on 18 February 2016 10:35 AM

Please be advised that our ITS counterparts at UNH report that they are currently investigating cases where UNH personnel – both faculty and staff – have experienced Identity Theft related to tax filing. 

At this time, ITS is not aware of any PSU individuals impacted by current year Tax filing related Identity Theft.  Even though this is the case, we wanted to pass along this information so you can be more aware of what to do if you find yourself in this situation. 

The best prevention starts with vigilance, here is a reputable source of information:

https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-for-Taxpayers,-Victims-about-Identity-Theft-and-Tax-Returns

Tax related identity theft is typically found only when a person filing their taxes is notified by the IRS that a prior filing for that tax year has occurred claiming a refund.   A similar investigation performed by UNH in 2015 found no correlation in circumstances, past associations with organizations with known data breaches, use of specific tax filing methods or involvement of significant others.  There is no evidence of any breach of USNH or UNH data that may have contributed to this situation. 

It should be noted that, nationally, on the order of 8% to 10% of taxpayers may have been affected as reported by IRS and FBI sources in 2015.  If you or someone you know has experienced tax related identity theft, ITS recommends the following actions, some of which you may have already taken, to reduce your risk of additional financial loss or further identity theft:

  • Report your loss to the IRS and your local Police Department
  • Obtain and monitor credit reports for at least one year; free reporting is offered by the three major credit companies and can be requested at the website (www.annualcreditreport.com)
  • Create a credit lock or freeze; for more information see the Federal Trade Commission webpage at (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs)
  • Use the free service from the IRS to create a tax filing PIN at the IRS website (http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Electronic-Filing-PIN-Request)
  • Contact your insurance agent to see if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy offers identity theft protection.
  • Ensure your Social Security Number and other financial information is not stored on your computers, both work and personal. For PSU owned computers, use Identity Finder to locate and remove such information. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Help Desk.


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