Protect Yourself from Identity Theft During the Tax Season

Contact Information: 
Alicia Biggs
Protect your sensitive information and tax refund with tips from the Tax Department, the NYS Office of Information Technology Services, and the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, along with the New York State Office of Information Technology Services and the Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection today shared important tips to help New York taxpayers guard against identity theft and prevent tax fraud.

New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt said, "It's critical that taxpayers safeguard their personal information. Identify thieves continually adjust their tactics to take advantage of security lapses. We use analytics-driven processing systems to detect and stop fraud as it emerges, but you can also help avoid being victimized by following the guidance below."

Interim New York State Office of Information Technology Services Chief Information Officer Jeremy M. Goldberg said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State has taken real steps to protect online security by safeguarding personal information, minimizing risk, and preventing New York taxpayers from falling prey to cybercriminals. Tax season brings with it greater risks to individuals and families as scammers and cybercriminals look to exploit online information for deceptive purposes. Use these simple tips to protect your information and stay vigilant against potential tax scams."

New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Tax season isn't only a busy time for tax professionals, scammers also kick into high gear targeting taxpayers. It's critical for all New Yorkers to be vigilant in protecting their sensitive tax information from falling into the wrong hands by following these basic tips."

Tips to prevent identity theft and fraud

  1. File promptly. Filing your tax return as soon as possible can reduce the likelihood that an identity thief will be able to claim a fraudulent tax refund using your stolen information.
  2. Protect data and documents used to prepare your return. Keep sensitive personal information and documents safe during and after the filing process, and delete or shred once no longer needed. It's important to regularly review the steps necessary to secure your sensitive information
  3. If you hire a tax preparer, do your research to ensure they're competent and ethical. Avoid preparers who boast that they can obtain larger refunds than their competitors can, who don't provide you with their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), or who base their fee on a percentage of your refund. See the Tax Department's Tips for hiring a tax preparer webpage.
  4. Make sure your tax preparer is willing to sign your return as your tax professional. The preparer must also provide you with a copy of your return.
  5. Carefully review your return. You're responsible for the return's accuracy. If you hire a paid preparer, never sign a blank return.

Report it

If you're a victim or believe you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft, alert us immediately. We will track your information to help keep it private and protected. Visit the Tax Department's Report fraud, scams, and identity theft webpage.

Access more resources from the Office of Information Technology Services NYS Chief Information Security Office webpage.

Please also visit the Division of Consumer Protection's Taxpayer Scams webpage.

Complete the New York State Data Privacy Consumer Survey

New York State encourages all New Yorkers to complete the New York State Data Privacy Consumer Survey to identify what, if any, concerns they have in carrying out transactions in the digital marketplace today. The survey results will inform New York State policies related to the online marketplace and social media, and may prompt new laws and regulations.

About ITS

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) was created in 2012 to transform IT services in an effort to make New York State government work smarter for its citizens and enable the state to be accessible for businesses through the use of technology. ITS provides statewide IT strategic direction, directs IT policy and delivers centralized IT products and services that support the mission of the State. ITS operates data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support statewide mission-critical applications for over 50 Agencies, over 17 million citizen accounts, 120,000 employee accounts, 60,000 phones, 99,000 desktops and laptops, and 3,433 Virtual Desktop remote connections. ITS operates a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber to deliver telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing to State government entities in addition to developing new services in support of citizens, businesses and State Agencies.

For more information, visit https://its.ny.gov and follow us on Twitter @nysits.

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