Several of our clients have received a letter from the IRS validating the amount of the refund they are to receive when they haven’t even filed their return. Worse yet, when they file their return electronically, the return is rejected because another return has already been filed using their social security number.
No matter where you live, identity theft can be costly and frustrating if you are a victim. It starts when someone steals your personal information including your social security number.
This information may be stolen from tax records, medical and death documents, loan applications or your employers’ payroll files.
So can you prevent identity theft? The short answer is there are common sense measures to help reduce the likelihood of your identity being stolen such as not giving out your personal information to just anyone; watch what you put on social media and using strong passwords.
What to do if your identity is stolen:
- File a report with the local police
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and put a fraud alert on your credit cards
- Shred documents with personal identifying information you’re discarding
- File as early as possible in the tax filing season
- Respond immediately if you receive a notice from the IRS. If you believe someone has fraudulently filed a tax return with your personal information, you need to fill out IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit
- If you are a victim, get an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) issued by the IRS to select identity theft victims whose identity has been validated by the IRS. It allows legitimate returns to be processed and prevents processing of fraudulent returns.
If you have questions or would like further information on understanding how you can prevent identity theft contact Mike Stevenson, CPA, CFF, CFE, ABV at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-545-9100 ext. 112.