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Update: Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft

October 23, 2017

The recent Equifax data breach highlights the need for all taxpayers to stay vigilant against tax identity theft. Learn how you can protect yourself.

With new cyber threats emerging daily (like the latest Equifax breach), tax identity theft continues to be an issue faced by many individuals. To address this issue, the IRS, along with the states and the tax industry have joined together to enact new safeguards. There are several things you should be aware of going forward.

Tax related identity theft...know the signs.

You’re in trouble if....

  • More than one tax return was filed using your SSN
  • You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records show you received wages or other income from an employer you do not work for.

What is an IP pin and when do I need one?

An Identity Protection pin is a six digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security Number on fraudulent federal income tax returns.
An identity thief can steal all your info and make credit card charges, however, not necessarily file a fraudulent tax return. The IRS does not want to turn into a police station; hence the new rules regarding IP pins. They are now only issuing PIN numbers in cases where actual tax fraud has occurred. Those who file fraudulent tax returns get automatic jail time.

You'll get an IP PIN if you meet one of the following criteria as a victim of tax-related identity theft:

  • You received an IP PIN last year, or
  • You received a CP01A notice, or
  • You received an IRS letter or notice inviting you to opt-in to get an IP PIN, or
  • You can opt-in if you filed your last tax return as a resident of Florida, Georgia or the District of Columbia.

Actions to take now to prevent identity theft

  • Use strong passwords.
  • Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections.
  • Read up on the warning signs for phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies and even the IRS.
  • Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
  • Don’t carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure.

What to do if you are a victim

The Federal Trade Commission recommends that if you’re a victim of tax identity theft:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided
  • Complete IRS form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit, if your efiled return rejects because of a duplicate filing under your social security number or you are instructed to do so. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail according to instructions.

Important Contact Info

  • Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 800-525-6285- Note- If you've placed a credit security freeze with Equifax, you must contact Equifax to have the freeze temporarily removed to allow them to verify your identity.
  • Experian, www.Experian.com, 888-397-3742
  • TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 800-680-7289

If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact them for specialized assistance at 1-800-908-4490.

Contact our Information Security Services Team for more information.

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