SCARS™ Guide: Guide to Taxpayer Identity Theft & Scams

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SCARS™ Guide: Guide to Taxpayer Identity Theft & Scams

(Last Updated On: March 25, 2022)

SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.™ Guide: Guide to Taxpayer Identity TheftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources. & ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost.

Tax-Related Identity Theft Occurs When Someone Uses Your Stolen Personal Information, Including Your Social Security Number, To File A Tax Return Claiming A Fraudulent Refund

If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.

Know the Signs of Taxpayer Identity Theft (Similar For Other Countries Too)

You may not know you’re a victim of identity theft until you’re notified by the IRSIRS The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue & tax service of the United States federal government responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code (the main body of federal statutory tax law.) It is part of the Department of the Treasury and led by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is appointed to a five-year term by the President of the United States. The duties of the IRS include providing tax assistance to taxpayers; pursuing and resolving instances of erroneous or fraudulent tax filings; and overseeing various benefits programs. Visit www.IRS.gov to learn more. of a possible issue with your return.

Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if:

  • You get a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you did not file.
  • You can’t e-file your tax return because of a duplicate Social Security number.
  • You get a tax transcript in the mail that you did not request.
  • You get an IRS notice that an online account has been created in your name.
  • You get an IRS notice that your existing online account has been accessed or disabled when you took no action.
  • You get an IRS notice that you owe additional tax or refund offset, or that you have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didn’t work for.

Take Action if You Are a Victim

There are steps you can take if your Social Security number or other personal information is compromised.

Tax-Related Identity Theft

If your Social Security number is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS recommends these actions:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice: Call the number provided.
  • If your e-filed return is rejected because of a duplicate filing under your Social Security number, or if the IRS instructs you to do so, complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit (PDF).  Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail your return according to instructions.
  • Visit IdentityTheft.gov for steps you should take right away to protect yourself and your financial accounts.

See Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How It Works for more information about how the IRS can help you.

If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact us for specialized assistance at 1-800-908-4490. We have teams standing by to help you.

Fraudulent Returns

If you believe someone has filed a fraudulent return in your name, you can get a copy of the return. See Instructions for Requesting a Copy of Fraudulent Returns.

Dependents

If you e-file your tax return and get a message telling you that a dependent on your return has been claimed on another tax return or their own, or if you receive an IRS Notice CP87A, you’ll need to find out why someone else claimed your dependent. Learn more at What to Do When Someone Fraudulently Claims Your Dependent.

Not all data breaches or computer hacks result in tax-related identity theft. It’s important to know what type of personal information was stolen.

If you’ve been a victim of a data breach, keep in touch with the company to learn what it is doing to protect you and follow the “Steps for victims of identity theft.” Data breach victims should submit a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit (PDF), only if your Social Security number has been compromised and your e-filed return was rejected as a duplicate or the IRS instructs you to file the form.

If you believe someone has been using your Social Security number for employment purposes (as opposed to filing fraudulent tax returns for refunds in your name) see our Guide to Employment-Related Identity Theft.

Protect Your Data and Identity – Your Computer and Mobile Phone

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry need your help to fight back against identity thieves. See Taxes. Security. Together.

Some tips:

  • Use security software and make sure it updates automatically; essential tools include virusVirus A computer program that can replicate itself and spread from computer to computer or file to file. It comes to life only when you take a specific action, such as running a particular program./malwareMalware Short for "malicious software," this term means computer viruses and other types of programs that cybercriminals use to disrupt or access your computer, typically with the aim of gathering sensitive files and accounts. protection and a firewall.
  • Use encryption programs to protect sensitive digital data.
  • Treat your personal information like cash; don’t leave it lying around.
  • Use strong, unique passwords; consider a password manager.
  • Use multi-factor authentication when it’s offered.
  • Give personal and financial information only over encrypted websites; look for “https” addresses.
  • Back up your files.

Identity thieves use phishing emails to trick users into giving up passwords and other information. Don’t take the bait. Look for emails that:

  • Pose as a trusted source such as a bank or a tax provider.
  • Contain an urgent message (such as “Update your account now!”) with instructions to open a link or attachment.

And remember these good guidelines:

  • Never download software or appsApps Applications or Apps An application (software), commonly referred to as an ‘app’ is a program on a computer, tablet, mobile phone or device. Apps are designed for specific tasks, including checking the weather, accessing the internet, looking at photos, playing media, mobile banking, etc. Many apps can access the internet if needed and can be downloaded (used) either for a price or for free. Apps are a major point of vulnerability on all devices. Some are designed to be malicious, such as logging keystrokes or activity, and others can even transport malware. Always be careful about any app you are thinking about installing. from pop-up advertising.
  • Talk to family about online security for their computers and their mobile devices.

Report suspicious online or emailed phishing scams to phishing@irs.gov.

Report IRS impersonationImpersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors. scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s IRS Impersonation Scams Reporting.

Create strong passwords that follow these simple guidelines:

  • Use long phrases that you can remember, combined with characters and numbers. Example: SomethingYouCanRemember@30.
  • Use a different password for each account and use a password manager.
  • When possible, don’t use your email address as your login ID.
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever it’s offered. This is particularly important for protecting your email, financial and social media accounts.

If you filed a federal tax return last year from one of 20 locations, you may be eligible to opt-in to the IP PIN program. The IP PIN is a 6-digit PIN that offers additional protection for your Social Security number on your tax return.

To obtain an IP PIN, you must be able to verify your identity through a rigorous Secure Access process. Review the Secure Access requirements before you start to learn more about the IP PIN and how to use the Get an IP PIN tool.

At the start of the 2020 filing season, taxpaying residents of these locations will be eligible for the IP PIN program: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington.

How The IRS Helps

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry work in coordination as the Security Summit to protect taxpayer data. Our program includes safeguards that identify suspicious returns.

The IRS never:

  • Initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media to request personal or financial information
  • Call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests
  • Call, email or text to request taxpayers’ Identity Protection PINs

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TAGS: SCARS, Important Article, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, IRS Scams, Scam Victims, Tax Scams, Taxpayer Identity Theft

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SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Inc.
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?

It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.

Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:

  1. Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
  2. U.S. State Police (if you live in the U.S.) – they will take the matter more seriously and provide you with more help than local police
  3. Your National Police or FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. « www.IC3.gov »
  4. The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network on « www.Anyscam.com »

This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.


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To learn more about SCARS visit « www.AgainstScams.org »

Please be sure to report all scammers
on « www.Anyscam.com »

 

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