I may be the victim of identity theft, what do I do?
What is tax-related identity theft?
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.You may not be aware this has happened until you efile your return and discover it has already been filed.The IRS may send you a letter informing you of a suspicious return using your SSN.
Know the warning signs
Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if you are contacted by the IRS or your tax professional/provider about:
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.
Steps to take if you become a victim
If you are a victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission recommends these steps:
If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS recommends these additional steps:
About data breaches and your taxes
If you’ve been a victim of a data breach, keep in touch with the company to learn what it is doing to protect you and follow the “Steps for victims of identity theft.” Data breach victims should submit a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, only if your Social Security number has been compromised and your efile return was rejected as a duplicate or IRS has informed you that you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft.
How to reduce your risk
Joint efforts by the IRS, states and tax industry to protect your data. Taxes. Security. Together. Here's how you can help:
See Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers (PDF), to learn more.
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
Report suspicious online or emailed phishing scams to firstname.lastname@example.org. For phishing scams by phone, fax or mail, call 800-366-4484. Report IRS impersonation scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s IRS Impersonation Scams Reporting.
See the main Identity Protection page for more information.
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