MetLife Auto and Home has added the functionality of an Identity Theft Service to help protect their customers’ from tax related identity theft. The program is made available to its customers from states where such a service is permitted by regulators, to protect them from identity theft with respect to their vehicles and homes at no extra cost.
Bob Lundgren, vice president of product marketing at MetLife Auto & Home said “Tax-related identity theft has become a serious consumer concern, impacting tens of thousands of taxpayers each and every year,”
With use of this service, customers who suspect that they might fall prey to tax related identity theft can contact MetLife Auto & Home. MetLife will in turn contact the IRS to file the necessary paperwork required to assist the customer till all issues have been sorted out. If fraudulent activity is detected, MetLife will deploy a fraud specialist who will begin the Identity theft resolution process as per the IRS’s guidelines.
MetLife Home & Auto also suggests the following to their customers to avoid falling prey to identity theft while filing their tax.
While filing returns online, it is wise to remember that the IRS doesn’t communicate with consumers via unsolicited email, and never requests personal information like your social security number, checking account number, or your birth date online.
If you receive an email from someone claiming to be the IRS, you may forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org for further investigation. The IRS website should you ever need it is www.irs.gov
Customers who go to tax preparers ought to be careful, research the preparer with the Better Business Bureau or the IRS OPR – Office of Professional Responsibility. You may verify the preparer’s license as well by this method. Consumers can email the IRS at email@example.com to establish the credentials of the preparer; be sure to include the persons or company’s name and address.
Customers who mail in their returns should do so from a US Postal Services office only. Customers are further advised to opt for a direct deposit of tax refunds to their accounts so as to negate the possibility of lost, stolen or misused refund checks.
Once you file your returns, you should safety maintain all your tax related documents including payment stubs, W-2s, 1099s and federal and state tax returns in a safe.
Identity thieves operate in various ways such as, filing a return using another person’s social security number, or obtaining employment based on another person’s social security information from their tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service in 2009 identified over 23,000 instances of fraud pertaining to tax returns, and 24,000 cases of fraudulent employment. Such fraudulent methods cost tax payers $180 million per annum.