Unless you filed your tax return on Jan. 19, opening day of this year’s tax season, a fraudster may be scheming to beat you to filing and collecting your refund—more than 1.6 million people are hit by tax identity theft each year. That could mean a lot of paperwork and hassles, as well as a delay in getting your refund.
But if you live in the tax fraud hotbeds of Florida, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., you can take advantage of extra identity theft protection from the Internal Revenue System.
Thanks to an IRS pilot program, taxpayers in those two states and D.C. can apply for a special personal identification number. This six-digit number helps prevent the misuse of your Social Security number on federal income tax returns by creating an extra security barrier ID thieves need to hop before they can submit any false paperwork in your name.
Once you have your PIN, you’ll need to submit it along with your Social Security number when you file any tax form so that the IRS knows to carefully check over your account. You’ll receive a new PIN every year.
While keeping track of another series of numbers may seem like pain, it could save you a big headache if someone attempts to file in your name. To get the PIN, you’ll need to register and verify your identity online. You can sign up on the IRS website.