Tax-Related Identity Theft – What Is It and What to Do About It

Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

What Is It?
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your Social Security number to file early in the tax season in the hopes of receiving a fraudulent refund.

Often times, you will be unaware this has occurred until you file your tax return. The IRS will alert you of identity theft by sending you a letter or notifying your accountant.

The IRS can be tipped off to identity theft if:
– More than one tax return was filed under your Social Security number
– You owe money for a year you did not need to file a tax return
– IRS records indicate you received more wages than you actually earned

What to Do About It
If you receive a letter from the IRS regarding potential identity theft, immediately call the number on the IRS letter. As a reminder, the IRS will never contact you about your personal or financial information by email, text messages, or through social media.

If think you are a victim of identity theft but have not received a letter from the IRS, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.

Outside of contacting the IRS, you should:

1) Notify your financial planner and accountant. Your accountant will need to fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14309.
2) Contact each of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your record.
Experian – 888-397-3742
TransUnion – 800-680-7289
Equifax – 800-525-6285
You should also visit www.annualcreditreport.com to run a free credit report with each of the above mentioned bureaus. This allows you to make sure no one has used your identity to open up a credit card or other financial account in your name unbeknownst to you. You can request a free credit report once a year from each of the bureaus.
3) Enroll in an identity protection program such as Identity Guard.
4) File a police report.

For more information about how to keep your personal information safe, click on this helpful IRS Guide.