James L. Hintzke, CPAAvailable to Discuss Tax Identity Theft
It’s a common misconception that identity theft only pertains to someone stealing your credit card number. Today, criminals are turning to tax identity theft. Tax identity theft occurs when cyber villains steal a taxpayer’s Social Security number and file a forged tax return in an attempt to receive a fraudulent tax refund. A TIGTA report (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration semi-annual report) from 2014 indicates that the IRS reported that it identified and confirmed 236,313 fraudulent tax returns involving identity theft as of April 30, 2014. Many times, data breaches and computer hacks are the main cause for Social Security numbers being stolen and misused.
Tax identity theft is discovered when you go to e-file your tax return or have it e-filed by a tax preparer. The e-filed return receives a reject notice that the taxpayer’s or spouse’s Social Security number has already been used on another tax return. You may also receive a notice from the IRS stating that more than one tax return was filed for you; you owe additional tax, have a refund offset, or have a collection action taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return; or IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer unknown to you.
If you are faced with tax identity theft, your tax refund could be significantly delayed by several months as you go through the identity resolution process.
The following corrective actions are recommended:
Complete IRS form 14039, “Identity Theft Affidavit”
File your tax return manually
File a police report
File a complaint with the federal trade commission
Contact one of the three major credit card bureaus to place a “fraud” alert on your records
Apply for an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number with the IRS
If you have not received your refund after several months and did not have a resolution, contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit, and if still required, the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service
Never enter any personal information on unsecured Internet sites.
Be wary of people calling your home posing as the IRS.
The IRS does not use social media or email to request personal or financial information. Any email you receive from the IRS is ALWAYS a scam and should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DO NOT carry your Social Security card or any documents that display your number around. These should be stored in a safe place.
ALWAYS protect your personal computers using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, etc.
Secure purses, wallets, and mail
As a CPA with 30 years of tax experience, James L. Hintzke, CPA can assist in resolving one’s tax problems from start to finish. I can maneuver through IRS internal channels and help you reclaim your identity from cyber villains and expedite your delayed refund. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. You can never be too cautious when dealing with your personal financial information, and it is important to take action as soon as you suspect you may be a victim.