It’s crunch time for filing individual tax returns, which means tax-related identity theft is on the rise. Each year, more and more scammers plan to steal personal information of taxpayers to file a fraudulent return or claim a refund. The IRS is helping combat this growing problem by launching an Identity Theft Central page on their website with tips and tools to protect you and your family from identity theft this tax season.
How do I know if I’m a victim of tax-related identity theft?
You may not know you’re a victim of identity theft until you’re notified by the IRS of a possible issue with your return, but it’s important to be proactive. Here are some warning signs that someone is filing a fraudulent return on your behalf:
- You get a letter from the IRS 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.
How does the IRS help prevent tax-related identity theft?
The Identity Theft Central page on the IRS website is full of information, with videos and resources around protecting your personal information and how the IRS combats identity theft. The IRS provides guidance on how to take action if you are an identity theft victim and reminds taxpayers that the IRS will 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
Seeing the warning signs and knowing the resources available are key to keeping you and your family safe against identity theft. Visit the Identity Theft Central page on the IRS website for more information.All Insights