It’s Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week

tax identity theft awareness logoTax ID thieves are ready — are you?

Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job, and it’s one of the fastest growing forms of identity theft in the U.S. You might find out it’s happened when you get a letter from the IRS saying more than one tax return was filed in your name, or IRS records show you have wages from an employer you don’t know.

Be a part of Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week by learning how to lessen the chance you’ll be a victim and finding out what to do if you are. In addition to events across the country, there will be webinars on Jan. 15, 2014 and Twitter chats on Jan. 16, 2014 in English and Spanish.

For more about these and other programs, go to ftc.gov/taxidtheft. You’ll also find some tweets and tips to share with the people in your networks.  

This week, we’ll share blog posts from partners working to help victims of tax identity theft. In the meantime, the FTC has these tips to fight tax identity theft:

  • File your tax return early in the tax season, if you can.
  • Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
  • Shred copies of your tax return, drafts, or calculation sheets you no longer need.
  • Respond to all mail from the IRS as soon as possible.
  • Know the IRS won’t contact you by email, text, or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will contact you by mail.
  • Don’t give out your Social Security number (SSN) unless necessary.
  • Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information.
  • If your SSN has been compromised, contact the IRS ID Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com to make sure no other accounts have been opened in your name.

More information about tax identity theft is available from the FTC at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and the IRS at irs.gov/identitytheft.

Comments

Every time I read a government site saying not to give out SS#'s I can't help but look at my medicare cards and wonder what are they thinking!!!? This shows up in so many places that the above advice is laughable- well if it weren't such a risk it would be.

An excellent observation and a great example of how the US Government doesn't coordinate the work of various departments. Although early on it probably seemed like a good idea to use the same number for Medicare accounts as for Social Security accounts, things change with time. It's time now for Medicare to set up account numbers which are different from the SS#. Too big a job? Nonsense. Identify thief is a major problem and this security gap needs to be corrected now.

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