It’s nearing tax time again, and every year, around this time, we hear about an increase in calls from people claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
They will often ask you for your Social Security number (SSN), or other personal and financial information. The IRS does not call people and ask them for that information. They have it.
Never, ever give your personal or financial information to a caller, even if they sound official. They are scammers trying to get access to bank accounts, credit cards and other financial information. It is identity theft.
- Misuse your Social Security number to file for a tax refund.
- Use your Social Security number get a job.
- Claim your child as a dependent.
Or they may claim to be from the IRS demanding that you wire money right away, or be in serious trouble. Again – the IRS does not make these kinds of calls. Ever.
Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS asking about:
- More than one tax return being filed for you.
- Owing additional tax.
- A refund offset.
- Collection action taken against you for a year in which you did not file a tax return, or
- IRS records indicating you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.
If you know that your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS recommends these additional steps:
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided or, if instructed, go to IDVerify.irs.gov.
- Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit
- If your e-file return is rejected because of a duplicate filing under your SSN, use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print it, then attach the form to your paper return and mail according to instructions.
- Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.
- 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.
- Experian.com 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion.com 1-800-680-7289
- Equifax.com 1-888-766-0008
- Close any open credit cards or store cards.
Ways to protect ourselves from identity theft, including theft by callers posing as representatives from the IRS:
- Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use strong passwords.
- Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies and the IRS.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
- Protect your personal data. Don’t carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure.
More information is available at: IRS.gov/identitytheft or the Federal Trade Commission’s identitytheft.gov.
And always, let your friends and family know what you know – Pass It On!!!
This article was written by Catherine Blinder, chief education and outreach officer of the Department of Consumer Protection of the State of Connecticut. To learn more about how the Department of Consumer Protection can help, visit us online at www.ct.gov/dcp.