Here are the top things the IRS wants you to know about identity
theft so you can avoid becoming the victim of an identity thief.
1. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to
request personal or financial information. The IRS does not send
emails stating you are being electronically audited or that you are
getting a refund.
2. If you receive a scam e-mail claiming to be from the IRS,
forward it to the IRS at
3. Identity thieves get your personal
information by many different means, including:
wallet or purse.
Posing as someone
who needs information about you through a phone call or email.
your trash for personal information.
Accessing information you provide to an
unsecured Internet site.
4. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but does
not begin with 'www.irs.gov,' forward that link to the IRS at
5. If your Social Security number is stolen, another individual
may use it to get a job. That person's employer may report
income earned by them to the IRS using your Social Security number,
thus making it appear that you did not report all of your income on
your tax return. When this occurs, you should contact the IRS to
show that the income is not yours. Your record will be updated to
reflect only your information. You will also be asked to submit
substantiating documentation to authenticate yourself. That
information will be used to minimize this occurrence in future
6. Your identity may have been stolen if a letter from the IRS
indicates more than one tax return was filed for you or the letter
states you received wages from an employer you don't know. If you
receive such a letter from the IRS, leading you to believe your
identity has been stolen, respond immediately to the name, address
or phone number on the IRS notice.
7. If your tax records are not currently affected by identity
theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost wallet,
questionable credit card activity, or credit report, you need to
provide the IRS with proof of your identity. You should submit a
copy of your valid government-issued identification -- such as a
Social Security card, driver's license or passport -- along with a
copy of a police report or a completed IRS Form 14039, Identity
Theft Affidavit, which should be faxed to the IRS at
978-684-4542. Please be sure to write clearly. As an option, you can
also contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit toll-free
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8. Show your Social Security card to your employer when you start
a job or to your financial institution for tax reporting
purposes. Do not routinely carry your card or other documents that
display your Social Security number
9. For more information about identity theft -- including
information about how to report identity theft, phishing and related
fraudulent activity -- visit the IRS Identity Theft and Your Tax
Records Page, which you can find by searching "Identity Theft" on
the IRS.gov home page.
10. IRS impersonation schemes flourish during tax season and can
take the form of email, phony websites, even tweets. Scammers may
also use a phone or fax to reach their victims. If you receive a
paper letter or notice via mail claiming to be the IRS, but you
suspect it is a scam, contact the IRS at
http://www.irs.gov/contact/index.html to determine if it is a
legitimate IRS notice or letter. If it is a legitimate IRS notice or
letter, reply if needed. If the caller or party that sent the paper
letter is not legitimate, contact the Treasury Inspector General for
Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. You may also fax the notice or
letter you received, plus any related or supporting information, to
TIGTA. Note that this fax number is not toll-free:
11. While preparing your tax return for electronic filing, make
sure to use a strong password to protect the data file. Once your
return has been e-filed, burn the file to a CD or flash drive and
remove the personal information from your hard drive. Store the CD
or flash drive in a safe place, such as a lockbox or safe. If
working with an accountant, you should ask them what measures they
take to protect your information.
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