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Your Taxes
Protect your identity

Identity thieves are stealing personal information and and are fraudulently filing tax returns. Unfortunately, the real owner of the tax return may be unaware of the theft until they file later in the season, and discover two returns have been filed using the same Social Security number.

Be on your guard and look out for email phishing schemes. You may get them through email, paper letter, website or phone call, but all are aimed at getting your personal information. This easy-to-read chart from the IRS provides examples and instructions on what to do if you receive any of these schemes.

For more information on filing and for ID theft prevention tips, see below:

Return preparation and filing options

Identity theft protection tips

What to do if you are a victim

If a taxpayer receives a notice from the IRS indicating identity theft, they should follow the instructions in that notice. A taxpayer who believes they are at risk of identity theft due to lost or stolen personal information should contact the IRS immediately so the agency can take action to secure their tax account.

Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. The taxpayer will be asked to complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039, and follow the instructions on the back of the form based on their situation.

Other tips* to follow:

  • File a police report and obtain the case number. You should provide as much information as possible, including your Social Security number, employer information and any volunteer work you've done in the past.

  • Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) website.

  • Review your credit report for suspicious activity. You are entitled to a free credit report from the three major credit report companies every calendar year. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228 (toll-free). To request one by mail, complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and follow the directions.

  • Consider a security freeze. By placing a freeze on your credit file, you can prevent someone who has fraudulently obtained your personal identifying information, such as your Social Security number, to open new accounts or borrow money. As an identity theft victim, you can obtain the freeze for free.

To do so, you must request the freeze by mail and send a copy of your police report and/or the FTC complaint form to each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Click here for sample letters.

Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

For more information about security freezes, click here.

*Source credit: Tigard (Oregon) Police Department