Tax-specific identity theft occurs when a thief uses your personal information, such as your name, address and Social Security Number, to file a return in you name before you get a chance to do so. This can result in loss of your well-earned tax return and cause you other headaches when filing for returns on upcoming years. If you think you’ve become a victim of tax identity theft, here are some steps you can take to help mitigate the damage.
Contact the IRS
The very first step to take in tax identity theft is to get in touch with the IRS, preferably via phone call. Many times victims are alerted to the suspected tax identity theft through a notice from the IRS that their SSN has been compromised. Calling the number provided with the IRS number is the best way to get in touch with case agents who are trained to deal with these types of thefts.
File an affidavit
After connecting with the IRS, fill out form Form 14039, an Identity theft Affidavit. This form is available on the IRS website, and should be competed if you tried to file your taxes electronically and had it rejected because of a duplicate filing. According to IRS.gov, the best course of action is to file your tax returns by mail with Form 14039 attached. It’s important to file a correct tax return even if a fake one has already been filed.
Notify the authorities
While filing and receiving taxes is handled by the IRS, the Federal Trade Commission is in charge of tracking cases of identity theft for the government. No matter what type of identity theft you experience it is always important to file a complaint with the FTC. If you think you SSN has been compromised follow up by notifying the Social Security Administration as well. And finally, contact one of the three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit files to help protect against any other damage a thief might do with your personal information.
When dealing with any of these issues, it's critical to carefully keep track of the dates for calls you made or documents you sent (keeping copies of the latter) about these issues so that you can reference quickly and easily later on.
When you identity or tax refund has been stolen, you will want to keep an eye on your credit files to help detect other instances of theft. This is where identity and credit monitoring can help. Credit monitoring is an ongoing review of you credit files that will alert you to certain activity that may indicate fraud, allowing you to react promptly to potential threats. Getting protected through an identity theft protection service, like Identity Guard, can help you keep an eye on your credit files moving forward.
In general, it's always a good idea to learn more about the options available to you in the event of identity theft, that way you'll know how to react if it occurs. Start protecting you identity today with Identity Guard. No matter where you are in life, Identity Guard can help.