Wisconsin Department of Revenue asks taxpayers to help fight identity theft

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Revenue is calling on taxpayers to help fight identity theft and cyber crime.

It's National Consumer Protection Week and the DOR is wanting taxpayers to be vigilant in ensuring their personal information does not end up in the wrong hands.

"Protecting taxpayers' personal identities is paramount in everything we do at DOR, and it requires a team effort," said Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca. "We need individuals to join us in protecting their identities. When we are all invested, know the threats and actively defend against them, identity theft opportunities decrease."

A reminder that the DOR and the IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message or social media to request personal or financial information.

Some best practices for taxpayers this season:

Secure electronic devices:

· Keeping electronic devices protected with up-to-date firewalls, malware and anti-virus software.
· Encrypt tax and other sensitive records stored on your electronic devices.
· Use strong and unique passwords for online tax preparation account.
· Use two-factored authentication, if offered.
· Never send tax information through unencrypted email or a public Wi-Fi connection.
· Be careful with games, memes and social media accounts that could expose information used in security questions, like mother's maiden name, name of the road you grew up on or first pet.

Be wary of tax return preparers who:

· Claim they can get larger refunds than others.
· Base their fees on a percentage of the refund.
· Offer to deposit your refund into their financial account.

Use a tax professional who:

· Consider whether the individual or firm will be around for months or years after filing the return to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return.
· Enters their preparer tax identification number on the tax return.
· Signs the tax return.
· Provides you a copy of the return.

Ask the preparer:
· How it will handle and store your information.
· What computer security they use.
· If the person working on your taxes has undergone a thorough background screening.