your tax return, security — August 22, 2016

Selfie Security – Using Your Face to Protect Your Identity

by Susannah McQuitty

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Girl in a blue shirt leans against a wall and grins at phone.

Time to get back that selfie stick you sold on Amazon—you can now use selfies to protect yourself from tax fraud in Alabama. Wait. What?

There’s actually a pretty good reason behind it. See, most tax fraud happens in January and February, because not everyone files their taxes as soon as they get their W-2’s (guilty). This makes it really easy for identity thieves to file a return in your name long before you try to, and the IRS has no way to authenticate or reason to doubt if the thieves already have your tax ID number—according to their security, the thief has proven that he’s you.

That’s where the selfie comes in.

MorphoTrustUSA provides the app that you Alabama taxpayers can take a selfie with. Snap a picture of your face, and the app makes sure it matches your photo ID in the state’s records (most likely your driver’s license photo). After you’ve authenticated that it is indeed you, the Alabama Department of Revenue now knows how to verify the real you.

Every time a return is filed in your name, a notification will come to the app. You log in with a selfie every time you open it, and you can only authenticate a filed return from your phone with your face.

You can still use whatever filing software or process you like, but before the Alabama Department of Revenue processes your return, you will have to give them the green light from your phone.

The app itself is totally free to Alabama taxpayers, and it’s completely optional. The MorphoTrustUSA app is essentially like verifying your identity with a driver’s license, but it’s understandable that some people may be a bit mistrusting of a mobile app. It is secure, but not necessary to file your return.

Selfies can do more than just boost your self-esteem and Instagram following—now they can protect you, too! Check out the full story here.

I guess you could say that if anyone tries to file a return in your name, you’ll be able to face them without fear.

Yeah, that hurt me too.

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