Are you a victim of tax identity theft? Part 2
Find out if you are a victim of tax identity theft and what to do about it.
In part one of this two part series, ‘Are you a victim of tax identity theft’, the warning signs of tax identity theft and the necessary steps to take if you are a victim were discussed. In this article you will discover other actions that a victim can take and ways to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
The process of cleansing your identity is task-driven and lengthy but necessary. If you suspect that your social security number has been fraudulently used, there are additional steps to take besides those listed in part one of this article.
- Call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), immediately, after receiving any IRS notice. The number to call will be included in the correspondence.
- Complete the Identity Theft Affidavit, IRS Form 14039. Complete this fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then mail or fax according to instructions.
- You must continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.
There are ways to increase your chances of avoiding taxpayer identity theft:
- Do not routinely carry your Social Security card or any document with your social security number on it.
- Do not give a business your social security number just because they ask – only when absolutely necessary.
- Protect your personal financial information at home and on your computer.
- Check your credit report annually. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-800-322-8228 to get a free copy of your credit report.
- Check your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually. Your earnings statement can be accessed at www.ssa.gov .
- Protect your personal computers by using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, update security patches and change passwords for Internet accounts.
- Do not give personal information over the phone, through the mail or the Internet unless you have either initiated the contact or are sure you know who is asking.
Have you already contacted the IRS and your issue has not been resolved? Contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. This unit was started in 2008, to assist taxpayers in reporting tax identity theft and working directly with the IRS to resolve their concerns.
Michigan State University Extension educators want all taxpayers to know that the IRS will never 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.