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It’s that time again, folks. Whether you haven’t filed your taxes yet or are in the middle of filing them, it’s not too late to protect yourself this tax season. With new tax fraud cases on the rise, many of which are increasing due to the acceleration of AI, we want you to take additional security measures to protect yourself from these frauds. But how? That’s why you need an identity protection pin this tax season.

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Why you need an Identity Protection PIN this tax season

Sticky note on tax documents (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Fraudsters committing tax fraud are on the rise

Last year, Over a million tax returns have been reported for possible identity theft, and the numbers are unlikely to drop any time soon. Thanks to advances in AI, clever fraudsters can more efficiently steal a person’s identity, create a fake ID, and file a tax return in the victim’s name.

If they do this, they can receive a tax refund directly into their bank account, which has devastating consequences for the victim as they often only find out about the fraud when it is too late when they file their taxes.

Why you need an Identity Protection PIN this tax season

The word fraud appears on tax documents. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: Don’t fall for these sneaky tax scams designed to steal your identity and money

What is an Identity Protection Pin and how does it protect you?

To combat tax identity theft, the IRS developed Identity Protection PINs (IP PINs). These are six-digit, personalized numbers that you must enter when filing your tax return electronically or on paper. While it is not mandatory for everyone to have an IP PIN, the IRS assigns one to those who have already fallen victim to tax fraud and requires them to use it.

But for those who have never been a victim of tax fraud, according to the IRS, it’s still a good idea to get an Identity Protection PIN. This PIN – as long as you don’t share it with anyone – helps prevent fraudsters from filing tax returns in your name and with your compromised identity. Without this pin they won’t be able to move forward.

So why wait until you become a victim of tax fraud? In this case you will need an IP PIN anyway. Stop these scammers because these scammers are more sophisticated. Of course, filing your tax return may take a little longer, but it’s worth it.

Why you need an Identity Protection PIN this tax season

IP PIN page on the IRS website (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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How to request an Identity Protection PIN

To request an IP PIN, go to The IRS online tool. Have your valid Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) ready. Remember: If the IRS has already determined that you are a victim of tax fraud, they have already assigned you an IP PIN.

If you apply online, you can receive your IP PIN in about 15 minutes, provided you meet the eligibility requirements. Applying by mail with Form 15227 takes longer. The IRS will typically send you your IP PIN within four to six weeks of verifying your identity. Fortunately, the April 15 deadline applies to filing your tax return, not necessarily to obtaining an IP PIN. So as long as you get your IP PIN before filing, you should be fine.

Once your application is approved, the IRS will assign you a six-digit IP PIN. Write this down in a safe place. Once you have received your IP PIN, you will no longer be able to file your tax return without it.

How do I use my IRS IP PIN?

If you file your tax return yourself because you are entitled to do so Direct file The IRS website will ask you to enter your IP PIN when you log in to your account. However, if you have an accountant, wait until you review the tax return they prepared before giving them your PIN through the IRS website. Otherwise, if you are filing the tax return using tax software, you should be asked to enter your IP PIN before proceeding. If you need help with your IP PIN, visit the IRS Frequently Asked Questions or contact the IRS directly.

Important information about IP PINs

You can find more information about IP PINs here.

  • An IP PIN is valid for one calendar year. If you already have a PIN, you will receive a new PIN when you register next year.
  • A return submitted without the code will not be accepted. While this may be a nuisance for some taxpayers, it’s all designed to curb the large number of scams that result in more than $6 billion in tax refunds being sent to the wrong people.
  • When you log in to the Request IP PIN tool again, your current IP PIN will be displayed.
Why you need an Identity Protection PIN this tax season

A person preparing their taxes (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: CONFESSIONS OF A VICTIM AFFECTED BY CYBERCREEPS

How can you protect yourself from tax identity theft?

Use an identity theft protection service

If you’re concerned that fraudsters are not only committing tax fraud but are looking to steal your information for malicious reasons, such as identity fraud, we understand. There are so many scams and so much information you need to know to protect yourself. Fortunately, there are solutions that can help, including an identity theft protection service.

Identity theft companies can monitor personal information like your Social Security number, phone number, and email address and alert you if it is being sold on the dark web or used to open an account. They can also help you freeze your bank and credit card accounts to prevent further unauthorized use by criminals. Check out my tips and best tips on how to protect yourself from identity theft.

Have good antivirus software

The best way to protect yourself from clicking on malicious links that install malware that may gain access to your private data is to install antivirus protection on all your devices. This can also alert you to phishing emails or ransomware scams. Get my pick of the best antivirus winners of 2024 for your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

5 things you should do if you are a victim of identity theft

1) Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. This is the form that all fraud victims must fill out for the IRS. This lets them know that the person pretending to be you is a scammer. You can find the form on the IRS website.

2) Request a copy of the fraudulent tax return from the IRS. You can do this by going to This page on the IRS website Learn how to handle fraudulent returns and follow the instructions to order a copy.

3) National credit reporting agencies warn: Notify national authorities such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion that there is a fraud and block your account so that fraudsters cannot access it.

4) Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission: The FTC is there to track down scammers, and your report can also help them keep a record of how many scams happen in a single year so they can better warn others. You should also report the crime Identitytheft.gov/.

5) Check your online bank accounts: Make sure there are no suspicious transactions on any of them.

Kurt’s most important findings

Tax fraud is not new, but it is much more common these days. The IRS is doing its part to protect taxpayers, but it’s not easy to keep up. By applying for the Identity Protection PIN, you can help them help you.

How do you think the IRS can better educate taxpayers about how to protect themselves from tax fraud? Let us know by writing to us Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report newsletter at Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

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