Consumer Scams

Identity Theft and the IRS

This information comes directly from the Internal Revenue Service.

If someone filed a federal tax return with your personal information without your consent, you may be a victim of identity theft.

Generally, identity theft occurs when someone uses your name or other identifying information for personal gain.  One example is filing a tax return to get someone else’s tax refund.  The enclosed publication 4535, Identity Theft Prevention and victim Assistance, has information you may find helpful.

HOW WE PROTECT YOUR TAX ACCOUNT

We adjusted your tax account to show the correct return information or removed the incorrect return from your account.  You don’t need to submit anything to us at this time.  You should continue to file all federal tax returns as you normally would.  If we have any issues with processing your returns, we’ll contact you.  However, we won’t use email to initiate contact with you or request personal information.

We also placed an identity theft indicator on your tax account to flag any tax return submitted with your SSN.  We’ll review those returns to ensure someone else isn’t using your SSN to file a tax return.  If someone uses your identity to file a tax return, we will not reveal information about that individual, but we will notify you of the incident.

You are eligible to obtain an Identity Protection personal Identification Number (IP PIN).  To be protected by the IP PIN, you must register and retrieve your IP PIN.  An IP PIN helps the IRS verify a taxpayer’s identity and accept his or her electronic or paper tax return.  When you have an IP PIN, it prevents someone else from filing a tax return with your SSN as the primary or secondary taxpayer (spouse).  Once you obtain an IP PIN, you will receive an IP PIN for each subsequent tax year as long as the identity theft indicator remains active on your account.

If you want to participate in this program, see the information listed below.  If you do not want to participate, you don’t need to do anything.  You can file as normal.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GET AN IDENTITY PROTECTION PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (IP PIN)

  • You are eligible to receive a unique 6-digit number called an identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP).
  • The IP PIN will verify that the tax return we receive is really from you.
  • You can login to the link shown below, verify your identity, and retrieve your IP PIN.

 

NOTE:  If you choose to retrieve an IP PIN, you must use this number when filing your tax return.

If you use a tax professional or software to prepare your return, you will be instructed where to place your IP PIN.

Visit the following website to retrieve your IP PIN:

www.irs.gov/getanippin

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY

We identified a potential misuse of your identity for tax purposes, but we suggest you take the following actions:

  • Contact your local Social Security Administration office to ensure your records are accurate.
  • Monitor your financial accounts for any unusual or suspicious activity.
  • Notify your financial institutions.
  • Verify the information on your credit report.
  • Report incidents of identity theft to your local law enforcement agency and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

 

You can get additional information on identity theft by contacting the FTC’s Identity theft hotline at 1-877-438-4338 or by visiting their website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

 

HOW TO REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY

If you notice any suspicious or unusual activity on any of your financial accounts, report it immediately by doing the following:


1. Notify your financial institutions
2. Contact the fraud department of one of the three major credit bureaus:

Equifax                     Experian                                TransUnion

800-525-6285           888-397-3742                         800-680-7289

www.equifax.com    www.experian.com                www.transunion.com


3. Report any fraudulent activity to your local police or sheriff’s department.  Make sure:

  • The police report lists the accounts with the suspicious activity
  • You get a copy of the police report, which is called an “identity theft report” (you are entitled to a copy under the Fair Credit Reporting Act).
  • You keep the phone number of your investigator and give it to creditors and others who require verification that you were a victim of identity theft.  Credit card companies and banks may require you to show the report to verify you were a victim of identity theft.

4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in one of the following ways:

  • Call FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338
  • Go to the FTC website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft
  • Write to:  Identity Theft Clearinghouse

            Federal Trade Commission

            600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

            Washington, DC 20580

 

WHERE TO FIND ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE

If you have a federal tax account problem, including identity theft, and you haven’t been able to resolve it through normal channels, you can contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

TAS is an independent organization within the IRS that can help protect your taxpayer rights.  We can offer you help if your tax problem is causing a hardship, or you’ve tried but haven’t been able to resolve your problem with the IRS.  If you qualify for our assistance, which is always free, we will do everything possible to help you.  Visit taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 1-877-777-4778.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS.  LITCs serve individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve a tax problem with the IRS>  LITCs provide professional representation before the IRS or in Court on audits, appeals, tax collection disputes, and other issues for free or for a small fee.  For more information and to find an LITC near you, see the LITC pages at www.taxpayeradvocate.ire.gov/litcmap  or IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.  This publication is also available by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676 or visiting your local IRS office.

You can get any publication mentioned in this letter by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) or visiting www.irs.gov.

We consider identity theft a serious issue, and we are committed to assisting the taxpayers it affects.

If you have questions about this letter, contact the IRS Identity Protection specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.

 

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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