Saturday, May 07, 2011

3 Ways to Fight Identity Theft & Tax Fraud

As many taxpayers continue to get over the tax filing season, there are quite a few still waiting to hear from the IRS regarding their tax refunds. Most of the time the refund claim can be tracked by using the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund” system on their site but for those taxpayers that have been the victim of identity theft; locating their refund may be a bit more challenging.

Recently in the Tampa Bay area, there were numerous cases of identity theft where someone had used the taxpayers’ names and social security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns claiming refunds. Typical cases of identity theft and tax return information include complex schemes that either intercept taxpayer information via the mail or online email phishing communication that tries to get the taxpayer to enter their personal information on what appears to be an IRS site. Currently the IRS and the Postal Service investigate any cases of identity theft and tax information.

So what’s a taxpayer to do if they think they are a victim of identity theft and tax return information? Here are 3 Steps one should take:

1. If the IRS contacts you that your identity has been used for tax fraud, respond to the correspondence ASAP. Identity theft and tax issue notices will outline if more than one return has been filed with your information or that you have wages from an employer that you do not know.

2. If you have not been contacted by the IRS, and you think that you have been a victim of identity theft and tax fraud, submit a copy of your identification, a police report detailing the incident, and Form 14039 to the IRS.

3. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490

Identity theft and tax fraud are on the rise currently and taxpayers must do everything they can to protect their personal information from getting in the hand of unscrupulous persons. By taking a proactive approach, the risk of losing one’s identity can be minimized.

The Tech Accountant

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