What Is Tax-Related Identity Theft?
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 Tax-Related Identity Theft
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:
- Notify your financial planner and accountant. Your accountant will need to fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14309.
- 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.
- Enroll in an identity protection program such as Identity Guard.
- File a police report.
For more information about how to keep your personal information safe, click on this helpful IRS Guide.