Here are four red flags that depict that you are possibly a victim of fraudulent tax return identity theft:
- Your filed tax form gets rejected
- More than one tax return have been filed with your SSN
- You are notified that you owe extra taxes or had an unknown tax refund offset, which means, a chunk of refunds withheld due to outstanding education loans, past-due child support, or unpaid state income tax
- As per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records, you received payment from an employer you have never worked for
Steps to be taken by Victims of IRS Tax Return Identity Theft
- Contact the IRS immediately Without Delay: Respond to any notice immediately. Reach out to the IRS, so that the department can take measures to secure your SSN and tax account.
- Fill and Submit an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit: Fill out the IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if you had e-filed tax returns, but got rejected because of a duplicate filing.
- Don’t Stop Paying Taxes: Never stop paying your normal taxes, even in case of a probable fraudulent tax return identity theft. If needed, file your return through paper.
- Contact the FTC: Once you have contacted the IRS for the possible theft resolution, it’s time to get in touch with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a complaint at identitytheft.gov.
- Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Record: Contact any of the three national credit bureaus, viz., Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to start a fraud alert on your credit report.
Sadly, despite all these measures, criminals can still steal and deceitfully use your personally identifiable information. This is quite evident with the fact that more and more new tax frauds are emerging every year. In worst cases, fraudsters can steal your children’s SSNs and claim them as dependents on their returns.