Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. You may be unaware this has happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return has already been filed using your Social Security number. Learn ways to help reduce your risk of becoming a victim of tax-related identity theft.
How you can reduce your risk:
- Always use security software with firewall and antivirus protections.
- Use strong passwords.
- Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails
- Avoid threatening calls and texts from scammers posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies, or the IRS.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from suspicious emails.
- Protect your personal information - do not carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records and personal information are secure.
Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if the IRS contacts you about:
- More than one tax return that was filed for you
- You owe additional tax, have a refund offset, or had a collection action taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate you receive wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.
If you have fallen victim of identity theft, file a complaint with the FTC and close any financial or credit account opened by identity thieves. If your Social Security number has been compromised, respond immediately to any IRS notice and complete the IRS Form 14039.