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Stay Safe From Tax Fraud

This blog was originally published in January 2022 and updated in February 2023

 

A new year also brings a new tax season and with it, additional chances for tax related scams. Unfortunately, identity thieves are also working hard to steal your personal information - such as your Social Security number, so they can file a fraudulent tax return in your name and leave you with a big headache.

Stay Safe From Tax Fraud

Tax fraud is becoming an increasingly common problem. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  1. Minimize the chance of IRS tax fraud by keeping your personal information secure. Avoid giving your Social Security number to anyone unless it’s necessary – and don't share your number through unsecured methods, such as emails or text messages.
  2. Keep past tax returns and bank statements in a secure location and shred old tax and bank documents you no longer need.
  3. Beware of phishing attempts that request your personal information and be sure to enhance your device with strong passwords, multifactor authentication and up-to-date virus protection.

Contact the Internal Revenue Service at a phone number you can independently verify at IRS.gov if any of the following happens:

  • You receive correspondence from the IRS about a return you did not file.
  • You have trouble e-filing your return because your Social Security number has already been used to file a return.
  • You receive notices from the IRS about unexpected activity on an online account or regarding a new online account you didn’t create.
  • You are being notified you owe additional tax or are being sent to collections.
  • You notice incorrect information on any IRS records, such as wages from an employer you didn’t work for.
  • You receive an Employer Identification Number you did not request.

Getting in touch with the IRS will allow you to review any fraudulent claims filed in your name and to complete a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. You can also take advantage of IRS ID Theft Victim Assistance resources.

Learn more ways to stay safe at our Security and Fraud Center.

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