Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is offering a Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft so that taxpayers can take additional actions to combat tax-related identity theft that occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. For more information about tax-related identity theft, please visit www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft.
The IRS warns taxpayers that they may be unaware that tax-related identity theft has happened until they efile their return and discover that a return already has been filed using their SSN. The IRS may also send a letter saying they have identified a suspicious return using their SSN. Taxpayers should be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if they are contacted by the IRS or their tax professional/provider about:
- More than one tax return was filed using their SSN.
- They owe additional tax, refund offset, or have had collection actions taken against them for a year they did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate they received wages or other income from an employer for whom they did not work.
The IRS knows that tax-related identity theft is a frustrating process for victims. If a taxpayer becomes a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS is committed to resolving the case as quickly as possible. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – a government agency that promotes consumer protection – recommends the following steps to taxpayers if they are victims of tax-related identity theft:
- File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on credit records: Equifax, (www.Equifax.com / 1-800-766-0008); Experian (www.Experian.com / 1-888-397-3742); and TransUnion (www.TransUnion.com / 1-800-680-7289).
- Contact financial institutions, and close any financial or credit accounts opened without permission or tampered with by identity thieves.
The IRS also warns that they do not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. For more information about tax-related identity theft, see the main Identity Protection page on the IRS website at www.irs.gov/Individuals/Identity-Protection.
IRS Tax Scams Just One Form of Identity Theft
Tax-related identity theft is just one form of identity theft, which is a growing problem in America. Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), a leading global background check provider, undergoes an annual SOC 2 Audit Report that confirms ESR meets high standards for protecting the security, privacy, and confidentiality of personal information. To learn more about ESR2, visit www.esrcheck.com.
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