#1 - Signs that Your Tax Records Have Been Affected
• Identity thieves often use stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns to obtain false refunds.
• Suspect the possibility of identity theft if you receive correspondence from the IRS stating any of the following:
More than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number.
You owe additional tax.
Your refund is being offset or reduced.
The IRS is taking collection action against you for a year you did not file a return.
IRS records show that you received wages from an unfamiliar employer.
#2 - Action Steps if Your Tax Records Were Affected by Identity Theft
• Immediately respond to any notices you receive from the IRS.
• Complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039, located at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf
• If you contact the IRS and do not receive satisfactory resolution, you may call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
• If you are a victim of identity theft or simply believe you may be at risk of identity theft, you should still call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 so the IRS may take steps to secure your account.
• Contact local law enforcement.
#3 - Resources for Victims of Identity Theft
• Federal Trade Commission: www.identitytheft.gov and www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
The FTC published a comprehensive Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims.
You may also file a complaint with the FTC.
• Social Security Administration: http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/329
Among other resources, the SSA website provides links for placing fraud alerts on each of your credit files maintained by Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
• Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center
You may file a complaint via the IC3 website.
• IRS identity protection PINs (IP PINs)
The IRS issues unique IP PINs to identity theft victims for each year. Taxpayers include the IP PIN on their tax returns to ensure that only the taxpayer may file a return using his or her Social Security number.
#4 - Preventing Identity Theft
• The IRS does not contact taxpayers via e-mail. Forward scam e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org
• Do not routinely carry your Social Security card or other documents that contain your Social Security number.
• Never provide personal information via phone, e-mail, mail or the Internet unless you initiated the contact or you are certain regarding the third party with whom you are corresponding. IRS impersonation schemes are most prevalent during tax season. They can take the form of e-mail, phone calls, websites or even social media outlets.
• Secure electronic and paper forms of financial information.
• Utilize anti-spam and anti-virus software, update security patches and regularly change Internet passwords.
• Check your credit reports annually. A convenient resource is www.annualcreditreport.com
• Destroy sensitive information that you discard. Identity thieves may even search through your trash.