Treasury: Be Cybersecurity Aware and Prepared to Fight Tax-Related Identity Theft

Contact: See contact information below.

Oct. 29, 2018

With Gov. Rick Snyder proclaiming October as Michigan’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Michigan Department of Treasury is asking Michiganders to be cybersecurity aware and prepared to fight tax-related identify theft.

Cybercriminals are consistently using new tricks and tactics online to obtain personal information so they can fraudulently file state income tax returns and claim refunds on behalf of unsuspecting taxpayers. Often times, the taxpayer is already a victim of identity theft when a cybercriminal attempts to claim their state tax refund.

“Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated when impersonating taxpayers and attempting to steal millions of dollars in state tax refunds each year,” said Deputy State Treasurer Glenn White, who oversees Treasury’s Tax Administration programs. “While Treasury has made progress in the fight against tax-related identify theft, taxpayers should always be aware of and prepare for possible scams when conducting business online.”

To be cybersecurity aware and prepared to fight tax-related identity theft:

  • Only connect to the Internet over secure, password-protected networks.
  • Do not click on links or pop-ups, open attachments or respond to emails from individuals you don’t know.
  • If you are unsure of the email sender, type a website name by hand rather than clicking on an embedded link.
  • Do not respond to online requests for personally identifiable information. Most organizations—banks, universities, companies, Treasury—do not ask for your personal information over the Internet.
  • Limit who you share information with by reviewing the privacy settings of your social media accounts.
  • Trust your intuition. If you think an offer is too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Password-protect all user accounts and devices that connect to the Internet.
  • Do not use the same password twice. Choose a password that means something to you and you only. Change your password on a regular basis.
  • If something seems suspicious, report it to the proper authorities.

Since 2016, Treasury's increased security measures protected more than 4,500 taxpayers who confirmed their identity was stolen and used to request state of Michigan refunds. This prevented more than $19 million from being distributed.

As an additional layer of taxpayer protection, Treasury also sends confirmation quiz letters to help prevent the loss of state tax refunds. Taxpayers should follow the directions if a confirmation quiz letter is received.

To learn more about tax-related identity theft, go to www.michigan.gov/identitytheft or follow the state Treasury Department on Twitter at @MITreasury.

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Press Contacts: Danelle Gittus or Ron Leix, Treasury Public Information Officers, at 517-335-2167

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