Tax identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
You may be unaware that this happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return already has been filed using your Social Security Number. Or, the IRS may send you a letter saying they have identified a suspicious return using your Social Security number.
Know The Warning Signs
- The IRS sends you a letter indicating possible identity theft.
- More than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number.
- You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.
- Your e-filed tax return is rejected by the IRS indicating a return has been filed using your Social Security number.Steps to take if you become a victim
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov
- Contact one of the three major credit reporting bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records:Equifax 800-766-0008Experian 888-397-3742TransUnion 800-680-7289
- Contact the IRS Taxpayer Identity Theft Division 800-908-4490
- Contact your financial institutions, credit card companies, and any other entities you do business with.
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice.
- Complete IRS Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit.
- Continue to file your tax returns and pay your taxes even if you must do so by paper.
- File a police report with your local police department.
- Report suspicious online or emailed phishing scams to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Report phone, fax or mail phishing scams by calling 800-366-4484.
- Request a copy of fraudulent returns using IRS Form 4506-F.How to reduce your risk
- Do not open, click on, or download attachments from suspicious emails.
- Protect you personal data.
- Make sure your tax records are secure.
- Do not give out any personal information over the telephone (do not get into conservations, simply hang up immediately).
- Request a FREE IRS Publication 4524 Security Awareness for Taxpayers by calling the IRS at 800-829-3676
- If you are unsure about an IRS letter's authenticity and whether it came from the IRS, go to IDVerify.IRS.gov and follow the prompts to verify your identity.
- Check with your state to see if there are additional steps to take at the state level.REMEMBER: THE IRS DOES NOT INITIATE CONTACT WITH PAXPAYERS BY EMAIL, ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION, TEXT MESSAGES, OR SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS.Mike Lupo, SCORE CounselorVisit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net