At the beginning of every year, millions of Americans begin organizing their finances and gathering important documents that are necessary to file for their taxes – and hopefully get a hefty return from the IRS. However, in the routine process that is collecting your employment documents and loan statements, all of which bear sensitive personal identification information, it is not uncommon for citizens to lose track of this info, allowing it to fall into the hands of an identity thief.
In many cases, thieves will look to take the identities of individuals who have are actively employed, pay their taxes on time and are in line for a reward from the government once their taxes have been filed. And sadly, once that tax return has been mailed out and cashed in by one of these criminals, it will usually cost the rightful owner more money than they had coming to alleviate the crime.
Many individuals who are victims of these crimes find out about the crime only after filing when they are told by the IRS that someone has already used their information to cash in. Other signs that you are the victim of tax ID theft is getting calls from debt collectors, bank and credit statements from accounts they have never opened up or the IRS tells you that you have received wages from an employer you have never worked at.
To increase awareness of the possibility of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission announced that January 13-17, 2014 will be Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week . They will provide links to material to help consumers stay vigilant during tax season.
If you end up becoming the victim of this crime and discover it at some point during the tax season, you can file an affidavit with the IRS to hopefully clear your name in the eyes of the government. You can also enlist the help of a identity theft protection so that you can be alerted to certain activity taking place in your name that may indicate fraud.