Not thinking about your 2016 tax return yet? Identity thieves are.

Here’s a thought to warm the Grinch’s heart: while you’re focused on the holiday season, identity thieves are thinking about how to steal your information. One of the ways they try to do that is by filing a fake tax return using your information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund. You may only find out about it when you get a letter from the IRS. Or when you file your return, only to hear from the IRS that someone else already did. That’s tax identity theft, a problem we hear more about each year. Tax identity theft also happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a job or claims your child as a dependent on a tax return.

How can you protect yourself from tax identity theft? File your tax return as early in tax season as you can. Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically. If you mail your return, send it directly from the post office.

To help you learn more about tax identity theft, the FTC will host Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, January 25-29, 2016. We’ll have tips, webinars you can join, Twitter chats, and more.  If you’d like to host your own event during Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, there are resources you can use at ftc.gov/taxidtheft.

Has someone stolen your identity? Get help at IdentityTheft.gov.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

For more information, click here.

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