04 May What to Do If You’re a Victim of Tax-Related Identity Theft
While we firmly wish that this sort of post wasn’t necessary, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to become victims of identity theft during or shortly after tax season. When filing your taxes, you use a lot of sensitive personal information, and if you’re not careful, that information can be stolen in the blink of an eye. If you’ve become the victim of tax-related identity theft, here’s what you need to know.
Signs You’re a Victim
First, it’s important to know the signs of tax-related identity theft. If your Provo tax professional or the IRS contacts you regarding any of the following situations, your identity may have been stolen:
- Multiple tax returns were filed with your Social Security number.
- You owe taxes or have had collection actions taken for unpaid taxes for a year that you did not file a return.
- Records with the IRS indicate income from an employer that you never worked for.
These are common tactics used by identity thieves. If you’re notified of such a situation, continue to pay your taxes and file your return (if you’re currently filing). We will gladly file your tax return on paper for you if necessary.
Steps to Take
If you’ve become the unfortunate victim of identity theft, the first step is to file a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov. Then, place a fraud alert on your credit by contacting one of the three main credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. You should also contact all of your financial institutions and close out any accounts that were tampered with, or that may have been opened by the identity thieves.
While the above steps should be followed for any kind of identity theft, tax-related identity theft requires a few additional steps. If you are in the process of filing a tax return when you realize your identity has been stolen, you should still file your return. However, an e-filed return will likely be rejected, so you will want your CPA to file it manually. Complete the Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) from the IRS website and give it to your accountant, or attach it to your return and file by mail.
Note that if you receive any written IRS notices, you should call the number provided immediately.
How to Reduce Your Risk
At The Accounting Guys, we take the greatest care to ensure every client’s information is completely secure. As a certified Provo tax professional, we have additional security that can reduce your risk of becoming a victim of tax-related identity theft. Here are a few other steps you can take to reduce your risks:
- Always use security software on your computer.
- Use strong passwords, and use a different password for every account.
- Learn to recognize scams that are trying to steal your information.
- Don’t carry your Social Security card with you, and ensure your tax records are secure.
To learn more about how we help to protect your identity, contact a Provo tax professional at The Accounting Guys.