Tax Related ID Theft: What to Look For

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
  • 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.