Protecting Yourself from Tax-Related Identity Theft


When someone steals your Social Security (SS) number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent return that is considered Tax-Related identity theft. You may not even know or be aware that this has happened until the IRS rejects your tax return saying that your SS number has already been used or when you receive a notice in the mail from them. Here are some TIPS to keep yourself safe from being a victim and if you do become a victim the steps you should take.

  • Don’t get SCAMMED!

  1. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers requesting personal or financial information by email, text, or social media and if you receive this type of contact be sure to report it to phishing@irs.gov.

  2. A phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS threatening you with arrest or deportation or requesting your financial institutions information to send you a refund if you fail to pay immediately is another SCAM. Report the calls and to 1-800-366-4484.

  • Always protect your SS number and other identifiable information

  1. Never carry your SS card in your wallet if you don’t need to and always store it in safe place

  2. ONLY share your SS number when necessary and you initiate the contact or you are sure you know who is asking. (Ex. Applying for credit)

  3. Check your credit report annually. You are entitled to one free credit report yearly at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

  4. Check your SS earnings statement annually at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

  5. Protect your personal computers and update your security software regularly.

  6. Never access your banks and other personal websites on public WIFI.

  7. When you are notified your information has been compromised in a data breach, always be sure what information was stolen.

If you have been a victim here are some steps to take

  • File a complaint at https://www.identitytheft.gov/

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notices with the number provided

  • Complete Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit and attach it to your return and mail it according to the instructions

  • Continue to pay any taxes owed and file any tax returns that need to be filed. The IRS will correct any amounts owed if fraudulent activity is found.

Additional Resources

IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) @ 1800-908-4490

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