Tax related identity theft occurs when a thief uses someone’s stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund.
Here are some things people should know about identity theft, including warning signs and steps to take after identity theft occurs.
Warning Signs: Taxpayers should be alert to tax related identity theft if they are contacted by the IRS or their tax preparer about:
- More than one tax return being filed
- Additional tax owed
- A refund offset
- Collection actions taken against the taxpayer for a year when they did not file a tax return
- IRS records indicating they received wages or other income from an employer for whom the taxpayer did not work.
Steps to take if someone becomes a victim:
- File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on their credit records
- Contact their financial institutions to close any financial or credit accounts opened without permission or that were tampered with by identity thieves
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice and call the number provided in the letter
- Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.