Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

theft

The Internal Revenue Service is just as frustrated with attempts at identity theft as taxpayers are. They’ve joined forces with the states and tax industry to verify the identity of taxpayers and the validity of tax returns through the “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign. This is one of many ways to protect yourself against fraud.

 

The IRS hopes to raise awareness and heighten security when it comes to personal information. Steer clear of identity theft with these tips:

  1. Protect your records by using anti-spam/virus software and changing passwords. Also, avoid carrying your Social Security card and store your tax records in a safe place – you don’t want either of these things lying around.
  2. Learn how to recognize real communication from the IRS. Ignore fake threats of a lawsuit, arrest or demands for immediate payment. You should report suspicious activity to the IRS if you suspect tax fraud.
  3. According to the IRS, victims of identity theft can still file with the below options …
    • File a tax return by paper and pay any taxes owed.
    • File an IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Print the form and mail or fax it according to the instructions. Include it with the paper tax return and/or attach a police report describing the theft if available.
    • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant.
    • Contact Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov and type in “identity theft” in the search box.
    • Contact financial institutions to report the alleged identity theft.   
    • Contact one of the three credit bureaus so they can place a fraud alert or credit freeze on the affected account.
    • Check with the applicable state tax agency to see if there are additional steps to take at the state level.
  4. Taxpayers will receive a letter asking for verification in case of suspicious activity and if they are a confirmed theft victim, they will get a unique six-digit IP PIN number that is used to e-file their tax return.

 

For further assistance, follow this guide. We also encourage taxpayers to contact tax professionals for help moving forward!