In recent years, there has been a large increase in tax refund fraud cases. Identity thieves file false tax returns using a victim’s social security number and personal information. Tax return information may appear legitimate, but the person filing it is not. Taxpayers often discover they’ve been victimized by receiving notification from the IRS.
How to stop tax identity theft from occurring
- Never carry documents with your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) with you.
- Only give businesses your SSN if it is required, not because they ask.
- Check credit reports at least annually.
- Secure all your personal information in your home.
- Protect your computers by using firewalls, anti-spam software and change your passwords frequently.
- Never give personal information by phone, mail or on the internet unless you have initiated the contact or know who is requesting it.
How to deal with tax identity theft if you feel you have fallen victim
Be suspect to the possibility of tax identity theft if you receive notification from the IRS stating:
- Multiple tax returns were filed on your account.
- You have a balance due or collection actions are taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records show you received more wages than you actually earned.
- You have had your state or federal benefits reduced or canceled because the agency received information of an income change.
If you feel victimized by tax identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. They may request you fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit Form 14039.
If you have been victimized by tax identity theft and suspect fraudulent activity on your credit report, call or emaill Attorney Gary Nitzkin at Michigan Consumer Credit Lawyers(248) 353-2882.