New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (NH DRA) is sharing tips to help New Hampshire residents protect themselves against tax-related identity theft and fraud. With an increase in taxpayers and tax preparers working from home, identity thieves have increased scam efforts during the pandemic.
Taxpayers can ensure that contact from NH DRA is legitimate by understanding a typical interaction with NH DRA. In almost all circumstances, the first attempt the NH DRA will make to contact a taxpayer is in writing.
If a taxpayer is concerned about the legitimacy of a call they have received purporting to be from the NH DRA, the taxpayer can take the caller’s information and then hang up and call the NH DRA’s Call Center at (603) 230-5000 to confirm the identity of the caller and the legitimacy of the telephone contact.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation's tax industry – working together as the Security Summit – have provided tips on basic safeguards everyone should take:
- Use security software for computers and mobile phones, and keep it updated.
- Ensure that purchased anti-virus software has a feature to stop malware, and that there is a firewall that can prevent intrusions.
- Phishing scams, such as imposter emails, calls and texts, are the primary way thieves steal personal data. Do not open links or attachments on suspicious emails. This year, fraud scams related to COVID-19 and the Economic Impact Payment are common.
- Use strong and unique passwords for online accounts. Use a phrase or series of words that can be easily remembered or use a password manager.
- Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Many email providers and social media sites offer this feature. It helps prevent thieves from easily hacking accounts.
- Shop at sites where the web address begins with “https.” The “s” is for “secure” communications over the computer network. Also, look for the “padlock” icon in the browser window.
- Do not shop on unsecured public Wi-Fi in places like a mall. Remember, thieves can eavesdrop.
- Secure at-home Wi-Fi with a password. With more homes connected to the web, secured systems become more important, from wireless printers, wireless door locks to wireless thermometers. These can be access points for identity thieves.
- Back up files on computers and mobile phones. A cloud service or an external hard drive can be used to copy information from computers or phones, providing an important place to recover financial or tax data.
- Working from home? Consider creating a virtual private network (VPN) to securely connect to your workplace.
- Taxpayers should note that the IRS will not call, text or email about Economic Impact Payments or tax refunds, nor will it call with threats of jail or lawsuits over unpaid taxes. Those are scams.
The IRS, state tax agencies, and the private sector tax industry, including tax professionals, work in partnership as the Security Summit to help protect taxpayers from identity theft and refund fraud. For more details, tips and resources, visit www.IRS.gov/securitysummit.