What to Do If You Are a Victim of IRS Identity Theft

The first step

When your social security number has been used to file a tax return, you may come to know only when the IRS rejects your e-filed return or sends you a written notice that a return already exists. Alternatively, you may find out when you are notified of additional tax owed by you, learn that a refund has been given but not received by you or face action for tax unpaid for a period, although these are incorrect in your case. You should also check if the IRS has recorded the receipt of wages from an unknown employer.

Consider any of these events as a fraud alert and notify the IRA at once. The Form 14039 is used for this purpose and it tells the IRS that your tax account has been misused by an unauthorized person. Give details of the tax year for which you believe the fraudulent returns have been filed and also mention the last return that you filed before the suspected identity theft.

Alerting the right authorities

To notify about IRS identity theft, the form 14039 should be accompanied by copies of your social security card and a document that verifies your identity, such as, driver’s license, U.S. passport, or other government issued ID. If the IRS has notified you about a second return being filed on your number, include a copy of this notification along with the form and forward it to the IRS. You can also call the number given on the IRS notice to find out what you should do.

Apart from notifying the IRS, you should also inform the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) about the identity theft using their hotline or visit their website to find out what to do. File a report with the local police and then also intimate the major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, about the possible identity theft so that you can safeguard your credit score from the impact of fraudulent financial transactions. The credit bureaus freeze your account so that any activities that may be carried out in your name are not reflected on your credit score until your identity is secure once again.

Identity theft statistics show that a number of such incidents occur when taxpayers give out personal information or sensitive data in response to an email request or phone call from individuals claiming to be IRS officials. There are many who have responded to queries over social media channels too, which is also not a channel of communication that the IRS uses. Keeping in mind that the IRS never requests information of this sort without sending you a written notice is one of the easiest ways to prevent identity theft. However, if, despite your best efforts, your identity has been stolen, initiate action immediately to mitigate the risk that you are exposed to.

Let us know if you’ve been a victim of IRS identity theft and how you dealt with the situation. You can contact us if you’d like for us to add more information to this article or if you need any assistance finding an identity theft protection plan that works for you.