Steps for Tax Identity Theft Victims
Posted on 2015-04-15 09:00:14
Tax season is just about over. Or is it? Does it end when you file your return? Is it over when you receive your tax refund? If you are one of the many who will become a tax identity theft victim this year, it may not be over for a long time, possibly in 2016! You may look back and think filing your return was a walk in the park compared to dealing with tax identify theft.
Tax identity theft fraud is, unfortunately, an easy crime to commit. All it takes are a name, date of birth and Social Security numbers—all pieces of information that are fairly easy to find. Tax identity thieves are not procrastinators. They know they have to file a return before you do. They may file a return before you have even received an earnings record from your employer.
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How will you know if you have become a tax identity theft victim? If you are filing your return electronically, it may bounce if someone has already filed using your personal information. If the IRS suspects you may be an identity theft victim, they will mail (not email!) you a letter. Here are steps you should take if you may be a tax identity theft victim.
Respond to the IRS. Be persistent even if it means a long wait on hold.
If you used a tax preparer to file your return, notify the preparer unless you have reason to believe he or she may be involved with the crime. You may need to manually file your return.
Complete and submit an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039).
Contact one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to add a fraud alert to your file. (When a bureau is notified, it is required to notify the other two.)
File an Identity Theft Affidavit with the (Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency that tracks and oversees identity theft.
File a police report. Some police departments don’t want to take a report, but insist on it because it may come in handy as you continue to resolve the damage of identity theft.
A simple Google search should lead you to the forms referenced above.
There is no foolproof way to avoid becoming a tax identity theft victim, but guarding your personal information—especially your Social Security number--can reduce your risk. Check your Social Security earnings report annually for incorrect data. Keep tabs on your credit report with a credit monitoring service that alerts you whenever there are significant changes to your credit report such as new credit being opened.
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