In yesterday’s blog I covered email scams and phishing in an effort to alert taxpayers on the ways deceptive people may try to scam you into giving up personal, confidential information which could lead to identity theft. Today I want to cover identity theft and what you need to do to fix any IRS problems that may result from your identity being stolen.
The IRS does not communicate with taxpayers through email. If you ever get an email that looks like it is from the IRS – be warned: it is not. Forward the email or the email header to email@example.com and delete it. Any email communication from the IRS stating they need personal information from you – usually your social security number – is an attempt to steal your identity. Do not give this information out.
If you receive a notice or letter in the mail from the IRS that leads you to believe someone has used your Social Security number fraudulently, contact the IRS at the address or phone number listed on the IRS notice immediately. If the notice states there was more than one tax return filed under your social security number or if the letter indicates you received wages from an employer who is unknown to you, it is possible you have been the victim of identity theft. More likely than not, someone who does not have a social security number has used yours for employment or other purposes.
According to the IRS’ website, if you have not been contacted by the IRS but you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, you should contact the IRS immediately with proof of your identity. Make copies (not the originals) of your federal or state issued identification (a military identification card, driver’s license or state issued identification card, passport, etc), along with a copy of a police report and/or a completed IRS Identity Theft Affidavit Form 14039. Send these documents to:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 9039
Andover, MD 01810-0939
Or fax your information (not toll free) 1-978-247-9965.
The IRS also has an Identity Protection Specialized Unit which you may call toll free at 1-800-908-4490 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, Alaska and Hawaii follow Pacific time.
Prevention is always the best measure. Protect your personal identifying information to prevent future problems with identity theft.