Identity theft on your taxes can occur when someone steals your Social Security number, files a tax return and claims a fraudulent tax refund in your name. It is a stressful and troublesome problem for taxpayers, businesses and the IRS. You often may not know that your identity has been stolen until you receive notice or a rejected tax return from the IRS.

Though identity theft numbers have decreased, you should still be aware of the issue. As times change, so do theft tactics. Keep these things in mind and protect yourself from tax identity theft.

Protect Your Social Security Number

Do not carry your social security card in your wallet or other documents that may contain it. Only give your SSN when it is absolutely necessary and you feel comfortable with the person/organization/business asking for it. Safeguard your personal information by changing passwords frequently and using software protection. Review your credit reports and your SSA earnings statement each year for accuracy.

Avoid Scams

The IRS doesn’t contact taxpayers by email, text or social media to request personal or financial information. The IRS will not threaten you with arrest or deportation if you don’t pay them. Scammers pretending to be the IRS may ask for your financial information so they can send you a refund check.

Criminals may also pretend to be a bank or credit card company asking for information or demand immediate payment using a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. Learn to identify suspicious activity and report it.

Monitor Your Information

Consistently check your credit score to see if there have been any unusual changes. You can also find your tax return records online and request for transcripts of multiple years.

Report Theft

If you discover you are the victim of theft and a tax return has been filed in your name, immediately report it to your local police force and file a complaint with the FTC. You should then file an IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Print the form and mail or fax it according to the instructions.

Request a fraud alert with a credit bureau and close all fraudulent accounts. Also, continue to file your taxes by paper and pay any taxes owed.

Take preventative measures towards tax identity theft and be aware of any suspicious activity. If you are a victim of identity theft or fraud and have any questions as to how it affects you, contact your CPA Firm in Missouri. Our team at Schultz, Wood, & Rapp P.C., would be happy to help you navigate this stressful situation.