It's Tax Season – Watch Out For Scams!

Tax-related scams are around all year, but they seem to occur more frequently during the months leading up to April 15th. This year is no exception. Tax-related scams try to steal personal and financial information or money. Some scams try to get tax payers to commit fraud. In this news brief, we describe some of the most prevalent.

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Have You Checked Your Privacy Settings Recently?

Are you concerned about protecting your privacy online? If so, when was the last time you checked the privacy settings for each app, website, and device that you use? Using the privacy and security settings can help protect your personal and financial information and reduce online tracking.

While this may seem like an overwhelming task, making a plan can simplify it. Here are some steps you can take:

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Filing Taxes Online for Free-What You Need to Know

A new year brings all sorts of ads saying the advertised service will enable you to file your income taxes online for free. Before you head to a particular site, remember these two things:

  1. All taxpayers don't qualify for all free tax-filing programs or services.
  2. Different programs and companies offer different services and have different criteria and limitations.

This brief summary will help you compare the free-tax filing opportunities available. You decide which best fits your needs.

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New Steps Announced to Combat Tax-Related Identity Theft & Fraud

Even though tax fraud has been around for years, it's becoming a bigger problem. Identity thieves are becoming more sophisticated and can use stolen personal and financial information to claim tax refunds. For example, if a criminal has your social security number, they could file a tax return and have a refund sent to them. You may not know that it has happened until you file your return and the IRS informs you that the refund was already made.

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What You Need to Know About Recent Social Security Changes

In late October as part of the budget bill, three social security options for claiming benefits were eliminated. These options are file and suspend, restricted applications, and retroactive lump sum payments. The elimination of these options do not affect how Social Security benefits are calculated.

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Do Fitness Apps and Devices Protect Your Health Information?

Do you have a wearable health or fitness tracker? Do you use health or fitness apps? Are you giving someone a fitness tracker or other gadget this holiday season? If you answered yes to any of these questions, read on.

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