Jan. 07, 2020

By Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks)
With everyone getting their financial papers together for their tax returns and working on cleaning out the clutter of 2019, I have once again introduced a House resolution to bring awareness to the crime of tax identity theft and what you can do to protect yourself.

My House Resolution 649 specifically recognizes the week of Jan. 27-31, 2020, as Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week in Pennsylvania.

Tax identity theft is when someone files a fraudulent tax return using another person’s personal information in order to obtain a tax refund. This type of theft can also occur when someone uses another individual’s Social Security number to obtain employment. Pennsylvanians of all ages are at risk of tax identity theft.

Oftentimes, Pennsylvanians find out about tax identity theft by receiving a letter from the IRS stating that more than one tax return was filed in their name or IRS records show wages from an employer they do not know. You can protect yourself from tax identity theft by properly disposing of any documents that contain personal and identifying information, such as shredding bank and credit card statements as well as old tax returns. In addition, you can use firewall and anti-virus software on your electronic devices, create strong passwords on websites, and refrain from opening emails from unknown senders.

If you become a victim of tax identity theft, visit IdentityTheft.gov to file a report with the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission and get a personal recovery plan. IdentityTheft.gov also helps you complete and file an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) online as your first step to recovery.

To help area residents properly destroy documents containing personal and financial information, I will be hosting a paper shredding event on Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lower Macungie Township Administration Building parking lot (outside my district office). The address is 3400 Brookside Road in Macungie. The event will be held in partnership with Sen. Pat Browne and Lower Macungie Township.

This is a great way to dispose of large quantities of sensitive paperwork quickly and effectively. Watch my website or follow me on Facebook at Facebook.com/RepMackenzie for more information closer to the event date.
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