Attention refugee employment staff! There have recently been incidents regarding identify theft and refugees. Individuals from within and outside of the refugee community have convinced refugees to provide their social security number (SSN) and have used this information to file fraudulent tax claims.
Please let all your clients know that they should protect their social security number, alien number, and any other personal identifying information (PII). If a client reports that they suspect their identity has been stolen, please assist them in filing a report at www.IdentityTheft.gov.
Include this topic in your financial literacy/job readiness curriculum: Along with teaching clients about financial literacy and taxes, protecting PII and preventing identify theft are topics that can be easily covered in class. Here is a sample of what could be covered in a lesson:
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft happens when someone uses your social security number or other personal information to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund. You might get a notice from the IRS or find unfamiliar accounts on your credit report. You might notice strange withdrawals from your bank account, get bills that aren’t yours, or get calls about debts that you don’t owe.
How to Prevent Identify Theft
Secure your financial documents and records in a safe place at home and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work. Keep your personal information secure from roommates or apartment maintenance staff that comes into your home.
Limit what you carry. When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Leave your social security card at home. Make a copy and black out all but the last four digits on the copy. Carry the copy with you.
Keep a close hold on your social security number and other PII. Ask questions before deciding to share any information. Ask if you can use a different kind of identification. If someone asks you to share your SSN or your child’s SSN, ask them why they need it and how it will be used? The decision to share your personal information is your own.
What to Do if You Think You are a Victim of Identify Theft
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, act quickly. Here are 5 steps you can take to limit the damage:
- Call the companies where you know fraud occurred.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and get copies of your report (for instructions on how to do so click here).
- Report identity theft to the
- File a report with your local police department.
- Most importantly, you should contact your case manager if you need help or clarification.
Please visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov for more resources.
Has identity theft or tax fraud every happened to a client of yours? If yes, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experience and how you helped your client resolve the issue.