It’s the time of year when scammers try to steal your personal information—and your tax refund.
As tax season starts, the IRS is warning people about a scam that has caused $2 billion in annual losses for the U.S. Treasury. Stolen-identity refund fraud occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return seeking a refund. Most people don’t discover this until they file their tax returns electronically and find that someone has already filed under their name and Social Security number.
You may be a victim if:
- You discover that more than one tax return was filed using your SSN.
- You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection agencies take action against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, the IRS warns that you must continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper. If you know that someone has stolen your identity, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends these steps:
- File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” on your credit records:
- Contact your financial institutions and close any financial or credit accounts that you did not give permission to open or that identity thieves tampered with.
“Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft,” IRS.
Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors