Tax Season is fast approaching and Florida Peninsula Insurance Company would like to remind you to be aware of tax-related identity theft and to take the necessary steps to protect your personal and financial information from identity thieves, who may use the stolen information to file fraudulent refund claims.
Florida leads nation in identity theft complaints, and according to Cathy Costley, identity theft victim specialist for the Florida Attorney General's Office, nearly 12.7 million people in the United States were affected by identity theft in 2014. She advises consumers to take advantage of the free annual credit check available at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Follow The Internal Revenue Service Security Awareness Tips for Taxpayers to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:
- Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure it's always turned on and set to update automatically.
- Use strong passwords to encrypt sensitive files stored on your computer, including tax records.
- Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, Credit Card Company and even the IRS.
- Give personal information only over encrypted websites - look for "https" addresses.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown sources.
- Back up your files and shred tax documents before trashing.
- Do not carry your Social Security card or documents containing your Social Security Number.
If you believe you've been the victim of identity theft or may be at risk due to lost or stolen personal documentation, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 immediately. Incidents of identity theft should also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission.
Florida Peninsula Insurance Company offers our policyholders protection against identity theft for a minimal annual cost of $25. This protection will restore your credit to the level it was prior to the breach, no matter how long it may take and will reimburse our policyholders up to $25,000 in out- of- pocket expenses related to reestablishing your credit.