SUMMARY: Learn how to prevent and protect yourself from tax return fraud.
As tax season approaches, it would be nice to think that filing our taxes on time is all we need to worry about. But identity thieves are out there, ready to use stolen information to turn tax season into their big payday.
Using your Social Security Number and other personal information, an identity thief can file a fraudulent tax return in your name. They get the cash sent to a different address and you get the tax trouble. But, here are some things to watch for:
- Any correspondence from the IRS about any return you did not file.
- Trouble e-filing your return because your Social Security Number has already been used to file a return.
- Notices from the IRS about unexpected activity on an online account or regarding a new online account you did not create.
- Notice from the IRS claiming you owe additional tax or are being sent to collections.
- Incorrect information on IRS records, such as wages from an employer you didn’t work for.
- Anyone calling asking for your Social Security number.
- Emails asking you to provide your Social Security Number or other personally identifiable information, regardless of who the sender appears to be.
If you experience any of these, contact the IRS at a phone number you can independently verify at IRS.gov. The IRS will help and provide you with a copy of the return filed in your name. You can also learn ways to protect yourself at IdentityTheft.gov. And, you can help prevent IRS tax fraud by keeping your Social Security Number private and in a safe place.
Learn more ways to stay safe at our Security and Online Fraud Center.