Protect your identity
The IRS has seen an increase of fraudulently filed tax returns
by thieves who steal personal information through a variety of scams. Unfortunately,
the real owner of the tax return may be unaware of the theft until they file
later in the season, and discover two returns have been filed using the same
Social Security number.
Be on your guard and look out for email phishing schemes.
You may get them through email, paper letter, website or phone call, but all
are aimed at getting your personal information. This
easy-to-read chart from the IRS provides examples and instructions on
what to do if you receive any of these schemes.
For more information on filing and for ID theft prevention
tips, see below:
Return preparation and
theft protection tips
to do if you are a victim
If a taxpayer receives a notice from the IRS indicating identity
theft, they should follow the instructions in that notice. A taxpayer who
believes they are at risk of identity theft due to lost or stolen personal
information should contact the IRS immediately so the agency can take action
to secure their tax account.
Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at
800-908-4490. The taxpayer will be asked to complete the IRS Identity
Theft Affidavit, Form
14039, and follow the instructions on the back of the form based on their
Other tips* to follow:
- File a police report and obtain the case number. You should
provide as much information as possible, including your Social Security
number, employer information and any volunteer work you've done in the past.
- Report the incident to the Federal
Trade Commission's (FTC) website.
- Review your credit report for suspicious activity. You
are entitled to a free credit report from the three major credit report
companies every calendar year. Go to
www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228 (toll-free). To request
one by mail, complete the Annual
Credit Report Request Form and follow the directions.
- Consider a security freeze. By placing a freeze on your
credit file, you can prevent someone who has fraudulently obtained your
personal identifying information, such as your Social Security number, to
open new accounts or borrow money. As an identity theft victim, you can
obtain the freeze for free.
To do so, you must request the freeze by mail and send
a copy of your police report and/or the FTC complaint form to each of the
three major credit reporting agencies. Click
here for sample letters.
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
For more information about security freezes,
*Source credit: Tigard (Oregon) Police Department