To stop Identity thieves up front, the IRS has made a significant increase for 2013 in the number and quality of identity theft screening filters that spot fraudulent returns before refunds are issued. More than 3,000 IRS employees have been assigned to work on identity theft-related cases. The IRS provides the following tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:
1) The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or social media tools. In addition, the IRS does not email or text taxpayers.
2) If you receive a scam email claiming to be from the IRS, forward it to IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org
3) If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but does not begin with www/irs/gov forward that link to the IRS at email@example.com
4) Your identity may have been stolen if a letter from the IRS indicates more than one tax return was filed for you or the letter states you received wages from an employer you don’t know. If you receive such a letter from the IRS, leading you to believe your identity has been stolen, respond immediately to the name, address or phone number on the IRS notice. If you believe the notice is not from IRS, contact the IRS to determine if the notice is legitimate.
5) While preparing your tax return for electronic filing, make sure to use a strong password to protect the data file. Strong passwords contain a combination of capital letters, lower case letters, numbers, and allowed symbols.
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. You will be asked to complete Form 14039 to report you are a victim of identity theft and that it:
- is affecting your federal tax records,
- you have experienced an event involving personal information that may at some future time affect your federal tax records,
- and/or you are a personal representative of an identity theft victim