Consumer Alert: Watch out for Tax-Related ID Theft

See what steps you can take to protect yourself

You’ve filed your taxes, dropped the forms in the mail, and haven’t thought about it since. No worries until next tax season, right? But wait just a minute–don’t get too comfortable. If you don’t pay attention, you could miss some tell-tale signs of identity theft related to your taxes. The website OnGuardOnline.gov, which educates consumers about protecting their identity when on the Internet, is sounding the alarm when it comes to tax-time identity theft.

One indication that you might be a victim of a tax-time identity thief is an unexpected message from the Internal Revenue Service. This could be a warning sign that your Social Security number is being used by the identity thief. Know that the IRS doesn’t initiate communication with taxpayers via e-mail. OnGuardOnline.gov suggests contacting the IRS if you receive a notice saying more than one tax return was filed in your name or that IRS records indicated that you are on the payroll of an employer that you don’t know. If your Social Security number is stolen, it might be used by a thief to get employment. The thief’s employer would then report their income earned to the IRS using your Social Security number. Consequently, this makes it appear as if you didn’t report all of your income on your tax return.

If you believe that you are the victim of tax-related identity theft, don’t hesitate. Let the IRS know right away. This advice applies even if you don’t have any evidence that the identity theft directly affected your tax return. Specifically, reach out to the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit, which assists identity theft victims with filing their tax returns and obtaining any refunds due to them. The unit also serves to protect victims’ IRS accounts from future identity theft. They can be reached at 1-800-908-4490.

For more information, visit the IRS website and look for the article, Identity Theft and Your Tax Records.

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