Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

You may be unaware that this has happened until you efile your return and discover that a return already has been filed using your social security number. Or, the IRS may send you a letter saying we have identified a suspicious return using your social security number.

To learn more about tax-related identity theft and the steps to take if you become a victim, please follow this link to the IRS website https://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft

 

The IRS has also released the first in a series of YouTube video tax tips designed to provide people critical information to help protect their tax and financial data. To access these videos, please click here and follow the link in the article to the YouTube videos.

Phony IRS Emails

The Scam: 

Email recipients are asked to click on links to take them to the “IRS” website. The links appear to be authentic and connect the victim to sites that resemble the genuine IRS website. These phony sites then prompt the victim for personal identifiers, credit card numbers, PIN numbers, or similar financial information. These websites seem legitimate because most of the images and content are copied from actual pages on the genuine IRS website.

 

The information fraudulently obtained by scammers is used to steal the taxpayers identity and then his or her financial assets. Generally, identity thieves used someones personal data to steal his or her financial accounts, run up charges on the victim’s credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, and services in the victim’s name and even file fraudulent tax returns to obtain refunds rightfully belonging to the victim.

 

The IRS will NEVER initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message, or social media tools to request personal or financial information.

 

Pervasive Telephone Scams

The Scam:

The IRS has seen a recent increase in local phone scams across the country, with callers pretending to be from the IRS in hopes of stealing money or identities from victims. There are many variations of this scam ranging from instances where callers say the victims owe money or are entitled to a huge refund.  Some calls will threaten arrest and threaten a driver’s license revocation, if the caller fails to comply. After threatening victims with jail time or a driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

 

Characteristics of these scams can include:

  • > Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves
  • > Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number
  • > Scammers “spoof” or imitate the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling
  • > Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their bogus calls.
  • > Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

The IRS will NEVER ask for credit card, debit card, or prepaid card information over the phone. They will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. Postal Service. 

Steps to take in Case of Identity Theft

1. Report the crime to the police immediately. Get a copy of the police report or case number. Credit card companies may ask for the reference to verify the crime.

2. Immediately contact the credit card issuers. Get replacement cards with new account numbers and ask that the old account be processed as “account closed at consumer’s request” for credit record purposes. Follow-up with a letter to the credit card company that summarizes the request in writing.

3. Call the fraud units of the three credit reporting bureaus. Report the theft of credit cards and/or numbers. Ask that the accounts be flagged. Also, add a victim’s statement to the report requesting contact to verify future credit applications

> Equifax Credit Information Services- Consumer Fraud Division: 888-766-0008

> Experian: 888-397-3742

> Trans Union Fraud Victim Assistance Department: 800-680-7289

4. Notify the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General if the Social Security number has been used fraudulently

> 800-269-0271

5. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission

> 877-438-4338

6. Report the incident to the IRS identity Protection Specialized Unit

> 800-908-4490

 

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