PENSACOLA — Tax identity theft happens when someone files a tax return using your personal information — like your Social Security number — to get a refund from the IRS.


  



PENSACOLA — Tax identity theft happens when someone files a tax return using your personal information — like your Social Security number — to get a refund from the IRS.



It also can happen when someone uses your Social Security number to get a job or claims your child as a dependent on a tax return.



In the spirit of Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week (Jan. 26-30), the Better Business Bureau offers these tips to help you keep your identity safe:



•File your tax return electronically or, if you choose to mail it, do so directly from the post office.



•Shred all copies of your tax return, drafts or calculation sheets you no longer need.



•Respond to all mail from the IRS as soon as possible.



•Know the IRS won’t contact you by email, text messages or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will first contact you by mail.



•Get recommendations and check out free BBB business reviews of tax preparers before you hand over personal information. BBB can also provide a list of BBB accredited tax preparers.



•If your Social Security number has been compromised, contact the IRS ID Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.



•Check your credit report at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com to ensure no other accounts have been opened in your name.



More information about tax identity theft is available at www.irs.gov/identitytheft.