The Indiana Department of Revenue, a national leader in fraud prevention, warns Hoosiers to be cautious when handling their personal and financial information during tax season.

“Since 2014, Indiana has stopped more than $110 million in stolen identity refund fraud,” DOR Commissioner Adam Krupp said. “Our fraud prevention programs show continuous improvements with groundbreaking results, but our efforts are lost if individuals don’t protect their own information against fraudsters.”

Tax-related identity theft occurs when a fraudulent tax return is filed claiming a refund in the victim’s name. This type of fraud starts with a stolen Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

Often customers may not know how to determine if their identity has been stolen. A few clues to look for:

  • Unauthorized withdrawals from a bank account or unknown credit card charges
  • A bill that does not belong to the customer
  • More than one tax return filed in their name

“While DOR has one of the best stolen identity refund fraud programs in the nation, it is imperative that customers safeguard their personal information as these fraudsters are always coming up with new scams,” Krupp said. “It is vital for taxpayers, tax professionals and businesses to keep all information safeguarded.”

The department has a few tips for taxpayers to keep sensitive data safe:

  • Always use security software with both firewall and antivirus protections and make sure it is updated regularly.
  • Encrypt files that contain sensitive information.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Be extra cautious when providing personal information over the phone—if in doubt, hang up and call the business using their publicly available number.
  • Never send personal information via email.
  • Do not click on links or attachments from unknown email sources or emails that seem suspicious.
  • Protect your personal data by not carrying your Social Security card and making sure your tax records are secure.

More information about stopping ID theft can be found on DOR’s website at dor.in.gov/4794.htm.