Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft
WASHINGTON, July 25, 2012 - We know identity theft is a frustrating process for victims. We take this issue very seriously and continue to expand on our robust screening process in order to stop fraudulent returns.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number (SSN) or other identifying information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
How do you know if your tax records have been affected?
Usually, an identity thief uses a legitimate taxpayer’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund. Generally, the identity thief will use a stolen SSN to file a forged tax return and attempt to get a fraudulent refund early in the filing season.
You may be unaware that this has happened until you file your return later in the filing season and discover that two returns have been filed using the same SSN.
Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive an IRS notice or letter that states that:
More than one tax return for you was filed,
If you receive a notice from IRS, respond immediately. If you believe someone may have used your SSN fraudulently, please notify IRS immediately by responding to the name and number printed on the notice or letter. You will need to fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039.
For victims of identity theft who have previously been in contact with the IRS and have not achieved a resolution, please contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit, toll-free, at 1-800-908-4490.
How can you protect your tax records?
If your tax records are not currently affected by identity theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost/stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity or credit report, etc., contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
Protect your personal computers by using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, update security patches, and change passwords for Internet accounts.
Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.