Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. You may be unaware that this has happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return already has been filed using your SSN.
As much as we’d like to think “that will never happen to me” – unfortunately, it can. Tax related fraud can happen to anyone and occurs more often than we’d like to imagine. Here are a few tips to help protect yourself against it.
- The IRS will never contact you over the phone. You will always receive a letter. If you are uncertain if a letter is legitimate, please call the IRS directly by going to their website irs.gov and using the phone numbers listed there.
- The IRS will never ask you to give them your debit card or credit card numbers over the phone. They will not ask you to pay any back taxes with gift cards, prepaid debit cards or by wire transfer.
- The IRS will never demand that you pay taxes without giving you an opportunity to appeal or question the amount they say you owe.
- The IRS will also not threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Do not reply to emails asking for your personal tax information.
- File your taxes as soon as possible. If you receive a letter stating that your taxes were already filed, then you need to contact the IRS immediately to let them know that someone else filed under your personal information.
- To report suspected fraud activity, visit this website here. It will give you the appropriate forms to fill out and send to the IRS.