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How to Protect Your Tax Refund

Thu, Mar 08, 2018 at 4:35PM

How to Protect Your Tax Refund

Experts in combating identity theft say 2018 is one of the worst years on record for tax fraud. Crooks are filing fake tax returns and trying to gain access to refunds at an alarming rate.

Luckily, there are ways you can protect your refund from falling into the wrong hands. That includes check cashing assistance: a fast and easy process where you can walk out with cash in minutes.

Here’s how to protect yourself from tax fraud this season:

Protect Yourself

You should file as soon as you receive all your tax documents (W2s, 1099s, other forms). This is the best way to prevent identity thieves from filing in your name and staking claim to potential refunds. After filing, you can track your refund online or through the IRS’ “Where’s My Refund?” app.

An option that’s increasing in popularity is the IRS’ identity protection PIN. After supplying identifying information from last year’s tax return, you can select a unique six-digit PIN (good only for the year of filing).

Practice Filing Security

Not everyone has private access to a computer where they can file taxes, and not everyone can afford or wishes to work with an accountant or tax filing firm. The good news is that many libraries and public agencies allow free use of computers and equipment to complete tax returns.

If you choose to file online, ensure that the computer you’re using has a firewall and other security features in place. If hackers can access the computer, they’ll also be able to see all information that’s been downloaded or saved there.

Keep hard-copy documents in a secure location (home safe, bank safe deposit box, accountant filing cabinet) and never share any personal financial information with anyone other than the IRS and/or your accountant.

Choose Foolproof Refund Options

Whether you file on your own, online, or through an accountant, you’ll have options as to how you want to receive your refund. The best option is direct deposit. By wirelessly transferring funds straight into your checking, savings, or other bank accounts, it becomes very difficult for identity thieves to make a claim to your money. This is also the fastest way to receive your refund.

It’s also important to keep tax conversations “offline.” That means you should resist the urge to make social media posts boasting huge refunds, griping about a poor customer service experience, or sharing any other information. Crooks will use any tidbit of data they can to rob you. Keeping tight lips leaves nothing for them to work with.

To that end, the IRS will never solicit information or send status updates on your return through email, text, voicemail, or social media posts. The agency only communicates with taxpayers via U.S. mail.

Cash the Check Immediately

Some people who choose to have a check mailed have taken the drastic option of putting a padlock on their mailbox. While this may seem foolproof, the fact is that bolt cutters can still be used to access private information.

The best way to get tax refund cash from a paper check is through check cashing assistance. Countless people depend on Check on Hold for safe and secure financial options. In addition, to check cashing, we offer cash advance (payday) loans, bill pay, money orders, and much more.

Contact us today to learn more about what we offer, or simply stop by one of our 10 convenient Central Florida locations. Turning your tax refund check into cash is fast and easy with Check on Hold.

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