What To Know About Tax 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.

Courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission

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Learn What Tax Identity Theft Is!

This information is primarily focused on United States Tax Payers, but the risk is worldwide.

What you can do to guard against it, and what to do if it happens to you!

What Is Tax Identity Theft?

Tax identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security number to steal your tax refund or for work. People often discover tax identity theft when they file their tax returns.

How To Protect Yourself from Tax Identity Theft

Taking steps to protect your personal information can help you avoid tax identity theft. Here’s what you can do to stay ahead of identity thieves.

Protect documents that have personal information

Keep your tax records and Social Security card in a safe place. When you decide to get rid of your tax records, shred them. If you don’t have a shredder, look for a local shred day.

Protect your information from scammers online and on your phone

If you use tax preparation software like TurboTax, TaxAct, or TaxSlayer, use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication offers extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. The additional credentials you need to log in to your account fall into two categories: something you have — like a passcode you get via text message or an authentication app, or something you are — like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.

Don’t give your personal information to someone who calls, emails, or texts and says they’re with 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.. It could be a scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. impersonating the IRS to steal your information or money. If you need to contact the IRS, call them at 1-800-829-1040.

What To Do If Someone Steals Your Tax Refund

If someone uses your Social Security number to file for a tax refund before you do, you’ll usually find out when you file your return with the IRS.

If you file by mail, the IRS will mail you a letter explaining that they received more than one return in your name. Follow the instructions in the letter.

If you try to submit your tax return online or through a tax preparer, the IRS will reject your tax return as a duplicate filing. If this happens, go to IdentityTheft.gov and report it.

IdentityTheft.gov will create your:

  • FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov Identity Theft Report
  • IRS Identity Theft Affidavit
  • Personal recovery plan

If you choose, IdentityTheft.gov will submit the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit to the IRS online so that the IRS can begin investigating your case. You can also get the Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS Form 14039) from irs.gov and submit it by mail.

What To Do If Someone Uses Your Social Security Number for Work

If someone uses your Social Security number for work, the employer may report that person’s income to the IRS using your Social Security number. When you file your tax return, you wouldn’t have included those earnings because they weren’t yours. But the IRS doesn’t know that. Their records will show you failed to report all your income.

The IRS will mail you a letter explaining you had earnings that you didn’t report. If you get a letter like this from the IRS, follow the instructions in the letter.

If you haven’t gotten a letter from the IRS but you think someone is using your Social Security number for work, review your Social Security work history. Create an account at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. If you find errors, contact your local Social Security Administration office.

Other Steps To Take

Whether someone used your Social Security number to steal your tax refund or for work, go to IdentityTheft.gov/Steps to learn what other steps to take to limit the damage that identity theft can cause.

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