Identity theft on the rise this tax season

                  Identity theft on the rise this tax season

Experian's ProtectMyID® outlines ways consumers can protect themselves

PR Newswire

COSTA MESA, Calif., March 6, 2013

COSTA MESA, Calif., March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The threat of identity theft
this tax season leaves consumers with more to worry about than whether or not
a tax return is in the mail. Experian's ProtectMyID^®, a multilayered identity
theft detection, protection and fraud resolution product, advises consumers to
protect personal financial information found in tax returns. A thief may use
sensitive information, such as a Social Security number, to claim a fraudulent
tax refund, open fraudulent credit cards and commit other criminal acts that
may take months, if not years, to correct.

Tax-related identity theft is a continuing problem. In fact, the National Tax
Advocate reports that the use of stolen Social Security numbers to collect
fraudulent tax refunds increased more than 78 percent from 2011 to 2012,
affecting nearly 450,000 individuals.^1

"This is the time of year when personal and financial data circulates through
the mail and over the Internet at an increased rate," said Ken Chaplin, senior
vice president of marketing for Experian's ProtectMyID. "If criminals
intercept just one W2 or 1040 form — or if they dupe someone into providing
that information — they gain a wealth of information that can be used for
identity theft."

The IRS advises^2 victims of tax-related identity theft to visit the IRS
website and complete Form 14039, the Identity Theft Affidavit. According to
the IRS, it continues to expand the number of Identity Protection Personal
Identification Numbers (IP PINs) being issued to victims. The IP PIN is a
unique identifier that shows that a particular taxpayer is the rightful filer
of the return. In 2013, the IRS has issued IP PINs to more than 600,000
taxpayers who have been victimized by identity theft^3.

Experian's ProtectMyID recommends the following tips to help safeguard your
identity during tax time:

  oPlace tax documents in a secure location, such as a safe or a locking file
    cabinet, and store them there until needed to prepare tax forms. Do not
    leave them in a car.
  oSome tax apps require users to take photos of W2 forms. Be sure to delete
    images after use.
  oPassword-protect your smartphone.
  oDo not follow links in emails or text messages to the IRS site — always
    type "irs.gov" directly into a browser to avoid vicious links. Report
    fraudulent IRS emails, texts or phone calls to phishing@irs.gov.
  oKeep operating systems and all computer protection software up to date.
  oDo not use public computers to e-file taxes.
  oAsk tax preparers about computer security measures employed by their
    offices.
  oDon't work with tax preparers who ask clients to sign blank tax returns.
  oWipe the hard drive before disposing of or donating an old computer that
    contains personal or financial information.
  oMonitor credit reports regularly.

"ProtectMyID alerts members to potentially fraudulent credit applications
which may have been made using their Social Security numbers," said Chaplin.
"Chances are, if a thief is using your Social Security number to open a new
line of credit, there's a chance he'll use it to try and submit a false tax
return. If you know your personal information has been compromised, it's a
very good idea to make use of the tax return protections provided by the IRS."

For more information, visit the ProtectMyID resource center.

^1http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/userfiles/file/Full-Report/Most-Serious-Problems-Identity-Theft.pdf

^2,3http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Combats-Identity-Theft-and-Refund-Fraud-on-Many-Fronts

About Experian's ProtectMyID

ProtectMyID is a leading, full-service provider of identity theft detection,
protection and resolution. ProtectMyID offers comprehensive identity theft
protection products supported by experienced identity theft resolution
professionals who deliver personal attention that customers can rely on.
ProtectMyID.com is a Website owned by ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian
company. For more information about how ProtectMyID helps consumers protect
themselves against identity theft, please visit http://www.ProtectMyID.com 

About Experian

Experian^® is the leading global information services company, providing data
and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses
to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate
decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report
and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a
constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March
2012 was US$4.5 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44
countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with
operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and Sao Paulo,
Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.

Experian and the Experian marks used herein are service marks or registered
trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company
names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Contacts:
Ann Noder
Pitch Public Relations
1 480.263.1557
ann@pitchpublicrelations.com

Becky Frost
Experian Consumer Services
1 949 202 7296
bfrost@experianinteractive.com

SOURCE ProtectMyID

Website: http://www.ProtectMyID.com
 
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