In an era dominated by digital transactions and online interactions, safeguarding your personal information is paramount. One crucial tool in the arsenal of identity protection is the Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN). This unique six-digit number adds an extra layer of security to your identity, helping to prevent unauthorized use of your Social Security Number (SSN) and thwart potential identity theft.
What is an Identity Protection PIN?
An Identity Protection PIN is a specialized code issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to eligible individuals. Its primary purpose is to prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using your personal information. The IP PIN serves as an additional authentication method, ensuring that only the rightful owner of the SSN can file a tax return. No one other than the individual concerned and the IRS should know an individual’s Identity Protection PIN.
Why is an IP PIN important?
Identity theft is an ever-present threat, and the consequences can be severe. Fraudulent tax filings can result in financial losses, damaged credit, and a long, arduous process to rectify the situation. The IP PIN acts as a shield against such threats, reducing the risk of falling victim to tax-related identity theft.
How do I get my Identity Protection PIN?
‘How to get identity protection PIN’ or ‘how to get IP PIN’ are oft-asked questions online, as obtaining an IP pin may not be relevant for all individuals. Not everyone is automatically eligible for an IP PIN. Historically, the IRS has issued IP PINs to individuals who have experienced identity theft or have been specifically targeted. However, the IRS has expanded the IP PIN Opt-In Program, allowing anyone with a valid SSN to voluntarily obtain an IP PIN.
Can I get an IP PIN for my child online?
The process for obtaining an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) for a child may vary based on the country and its specific regulations. In the United States, for example, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) issues IP PINs for identity protection purposes. As of my last update, the IRS generally issues IP PINs to individuals who have been victims of identity theft or who are at high risk for identity theft. The IRS may not issue IP PINs to minors unless they have experienced identity theft.
If you are in the United States and are concerned about your child's identity theft risk, you may want to contact the IRS directly or check their official website for the most up-to-date information on eligibility and the application process for child-related identity theft protection.
IRS Identity Protection PIN: Accessing the IRS Website
To obtain or retrieve your IP PIN, visit the official IRS website (www.irs.gov) and navigate to the "Get an IP PIN" section. Follow the instructions there to begin the process. During the process of requesting an IP PIN, you should be prepared to provide personal information for identity verification. This may include your name, Social Security Number, address, and other details. The IRS takes privacy and security seriously, so the verification process is designed to ensure that only the rightful owner of the information receives an IP PIN.
As discussed in previous blogs, keeping your Social Security Number secure is also of the utmost importance, so be sure that you are only using the verified IRS website. If conducting the verification using public Wi-Fi, it is recommended to use a VPN such as RAV VPN, so that you can keep your online activities private.
Retrieve your IP PIN
Once your identity is verified, you will receive your IP PIN. Remember, the IRS issues a new IP PIN each year for added security. Keep this information confidential and use it when filing your tax return.
Why should I request an Identity Protection PIN?
As mentioned above, you may not be sure if you are eligible to request an IP pin. However, it is recommended that taxpayers should request an IP PIN for themselves and their family if they fit any of the following criteria:
- Protection against fraudulent tax returns: Individuals will want to protect their SSN or ITIN from being used for filing fraudulent tax returns.
- Protection for loved ones: Consumers will also want to protect their dependent’s SSN or ITIN from being used for filing fraudulent tax returns, and so they may request on their behalf.
- Fears of identity theft: If you think you may have been a victim of identity theft or identity fraud in the past, or your SSN, ITIN or personal information has been exposed by accident, theft or fraud, you may want to go to added measures to prevent this from happening again.
- Strong suspicions: If an individual suspects or knows they’re a victim of identity theft, they will want to add as many safeguards as possible - both to exert damage control, and to prevent this occurrence from happening again.
I forgot my IP PIN! Where can I find my IP PIN?
Forgetting your IP PIN doesn't have to be a cause for panic. The IRS has mechanisms in place to help you retrieve or reset your IP PIN. Follow the steps below to find your IP Pin:
Step 1: Use your online account to find Identity Protection Pin
If you created an online account with the IRS during the IP PIN application process, you can log in to your account to retrieve your IP PIN. Follow the prompts for account recovery if needed.
Step 2: IRS Identity Verification
Contact the IRS directly for assistance if you are unable to retrieve your Identity Protection PIN online. Be prepared to undergo additional identity verification to ensure the security of your information. They may use two- or multi-factor identity verification in order to confirm that the new Identity Protection PIN will be given to the right person.
Step 3: Mail Request
In some cases, the IRS may send your Identity Protection PIN via snail mail. If you forget it, check any correspondence from the IRS for the PIN. If you still can't find it, contact the IRS for further assistance.
As your Identity Protection PIN is a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against identity theft, taking proactive steps to obtain and protect your IP PIN aids you in contributing to the overall security of your personal information. Vigilance in this regard includes regularly monitoring your financial accounts, being cautious with sharing personal details online, and, most importantly, staying informed about the latest developments in identity protection to keep your digital identity secure.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to safeguarding your identity in the digital age - so this is definitely another set of safety measures that is worth adhering to. For more information on other ways to maintain a secure digital footprint and navigate safely online, visit www.reasonlabs.com.