An identity thief who buys your personal information from a data breach can use it for all kinds of malicious purposes. Tax fraud is one common application of this information.

Essentially, a criminal may have purchased your bank account details and tax documents online and then obtained authenticated access to your bank account. Using your tax return, the criminal can claim a refund from the IRS on your behalf. The criminal can transfer money into an untraceable cryptocurrency wallet once the IRS deposits money into your bank account. Untraceable cryptocurrency can be used to purchase more stolen personal details, which starts the whole process over, or cash out into a criminal’s own account.

Identity theft victims often don’t realize they were targeted until after filing their tax returns. However, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself.

File Your Taxes As Soon As Possible

File your tax return as soon as you have the documents you need. When you file your taxes quickly, a criminal will have less time to file taxes in your name.

Don’t Provide Your Personal Information Without Verification

You should be on high alert if you receive a phone or email from someone claiming to be from the IRS. Criminals can impersonate the IRS or other organizations to obtain your personal information. Keep in mind that the IRS already has your name and SSN. You don’t have to provide it to them over the phone or by email. In case of doubt, contact the IRS directly.

Monitor Your Personal Data

Identity theft and credit monitoring are important when it comes to protecting your personal data. Monitors like this can alert you to one of the first signs of identity theft. Ensure your identity is protected.

Is your personal information on the dark web? Make sure your identity isn’t at risk!