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Early Warning Signs and Steps to Take

Tax identity theft often occurs in the form of a criminal using your social security number to file your tax return before you do and then walking away with your refund check. Most people don’t know they’re victims of tax identity theft until they file their own tax returns and the IRS rejects them. Be on the lookout for these warning signs of taxpayer identity theft from the IRS:

  • You get a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you did not file.
  • You can’t e-file your tax return because of a duplicate Social Security number.
  • You get a tax transcript in the mail that you did not request.
  • You get an IRS notice that an online account has been created in your name.
  • You get an IRS notice that your existing online account has been accessed or disabled when you took no action.
  • You get an IRS notice that you owe additional tax or refund offset, or that you have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didn’t work for.
  • You’ve been assigned an Employer Identification Number but you did not request an EIN.

5 actions to take for victims of tax fraud

If you find yourself or someone you know to be a victim of tax-related identity theft, here are some steps you can take to mitigate your risk:

  1. Contact the IRS immediately. If you receive a notice, respond immediately. You can also contact the IRS at 800-908-4490 so they can take steps to secure your tax account and social security number.
  2. Complete and submit an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit. IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, is a fillable form on the IRS website and should be filled out if you try to e-file your taxes and they get rejected due to a duplicate filing. Fill it out, print it, attach the form to your paper return and mail everything to the IRS.
  3. Don’t stop paying taxes. Even during a possible tax-related identity theft incident, keep paying your normal taxes and file your tax return by paper.
  4. Contact the FTC. Once you’ve done everything you can to start resolving things with the IRS, contact the FTC and file a complaint via
  5. Place a fraud alert on your credit record. Contact one of the three major credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) to put a fraud alert on your credit report.

Unfortunately, even once you’ve taken all these steps, there are still ways for criminals to steal and use your identity – and new tax scams are emerging every year.

Protect your social security number and more.
With IdentityForce’s Smart SSN Tracker feature, we’ll alert you if there’s an unfamiliar name, alias, or address associated with you or your child’s Social Security number (could be an indication of fraud).

Learn more about how to safeguard against tax-related identity theft with our award-winning identity theft protection products, and how to protect your children with our ChildWatch service.

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