Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen social security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. The IRS combats tax-related identity theft with an aggressive strategy of prevention, detection and victim assistance. We are making progress against this crime, but it remains one of our highest priorities. And, if you become a victim, we are committed to helping you resolve your case as quickly as possible. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
IRS References for Tax-related ID Theft Issues
Generally, an identity thief will use your SSN to file a false return early in the year. You may be unaware you are a victim until you try to file your taxes and learn one already has been filed using your SSN.
Warning Signs of Tax Identity Theft
Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive an IRS notice or letter that states that:
- More than one tax return was filed using your SSN;
- You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return;
- IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer unknown to you.
Steps to take if you become a victim of tax identity theft
- File a report with the local police.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov or the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 or TTY 1-866-653-4261.
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records:
Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285
Experian, www.Experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 1-800-680-7289
- Close any accounts opened without your permission or tampered with.
If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, take these additional steps:
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided on the notice.
- Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then mail or fax according to instructions.
- Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.
IRS Information on Identity Theft
The general time frame for resolution of a tax-related ID theft case is 180 days from receipt of the valid return or notice response, Form 14039, and required documentation.
The IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 is available M – F 7am – 7pm local time, Alaska and Hawai’i use PST.
Source: IRS.gov Identity Protection page
Internal Revenue Service considers Tax Fraud and Identity Theft to be two separate issues.
Here is the reference for Reporting Suspected Tax Fraud Activity at IRS.gov.