Tips to prevent identity theft while filing taxes

ROCHESTER. N.Y. (WHEC) — Filling taxes electronically and using a direct deposit for tax refunds are some ways that taxpayers can prevent identity theft, said the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Many hackers steal Social Security numbers from tax return files. To prevent theft, passwords for filling should have at least 14 characters and use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. The department recommends that tax filers use unique passwords, instead of the same passwords for other accounts like email logins.

Taxpayers should also be cautious of unsolicited emails and telephone calls asking for personal information. Scammers sometimes falsely claim that people owe tax debt to acquire their Social Security numbers or other information.

Victims of tax-related identity theft should alert the Department of Taxation and Finance immediately on their website for reporting fraud, scams, and identity theft. The state will track the stolen information to help keep it private.

For more recourses to prevent identity theft, call 800-697-1220 or visit the state’s Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Program webpage.