Tax ID Theft: Early Warning Signs That Your Info Has Been Compromised

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated November 22, 2019

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Personal Finance
March 7, 2019

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Tax refund fraud is a serious concern for both the IRS and taxpayers. Fortunately, the number of taxpayers victimized by identity theft has fallen greatly since the government began working with industry and tax providers in 2015. Despite the falling number of tax id theft reports, you should look for early signs that your information has been compromised. Tax fraud is in decline, but it still happens to thousands of people every year. Stay alert by using the best and most reliable online tax services and follow the tips below.

When the IRS receives more than one tax return that uses your SSN, someone will reach out to you about the situation. In most cases, you will get a letter from the IRS or related agency.

The moment someone contacts you, file a complaint with the FTC and one of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion). You should also complete IRS Form 14039 to report your suspicions to the IRS.

If you work multiple jobs, you could mistakenly forget to report a source of income to the IRS. When that happens, you can file an amended tax return to correct the mistake.

Some times, though, the IRS will say that you received income from an employer you didn’t work for. When this happens, there is a good chance that someone has stolen your SSN. The sooner you contact the IRS, FTC, and credit bureaus, the sooner you can stop an identity thief from using your SSN.

You look forward to getting a tax refund. If the refund comes before you have filed your taxes, though, you know that something’s amiss.

The IRS could have made a mistake. It’s more likely that someone used your SSN when filing taxes. Luckily, the refund check came to your address and alerted you to potential fraud.

Assuming that you filled out your tax documents correctly, you should know whether you owe the government money at the end of the year. When someone commits tax ID theft, though, they may file documents that include inaccurate information. If the IRS says you owe more than you paid, then you should have a tax professional review your documents. If the professional doesn’t find any problems, then someone may have stolen your SSN.

The good news is that tax fraud has fallen significantly over the last few years. The bad news is a fraudster could still target you. If you suspect that someone has stolen your identity, then you need to take action as soon as possible to prevent more problems. Protect yourself from further fraud with a trusted identity theft protection company such as Lifelock, which will monitor your information and protect you when things go wrong. Read Lifelock reviews here and sign up to protect yourself today.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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