Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s information without their permission to commit fraud or other crimes using the victim’s name, social security number or other identifying information. Taxpayers may not be aware they have become a victim of identity theft until they receive a letter from the Internal Revenue Service telling them more than one tax return has been filed on their behalf.
The IRS is dedicated to helping taxpayers with this problem and has created a special section at www.irs.gov which is specifically to give taxpayers tips, guidance and help to assist them in protecting themselves from identity theft as it relates to their federal income tax.
If a taxpayer receives a notice from the IRS indicating there has been an identity theft they should follow the instructions in that notice .A taxpayer who believes they are at risk of identity theft because of lost personal information should contact the IRS immediately. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. You will be asked to complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit which is form 14039.
The IRS is also taking active steps to prevent identify theft and stop fraud by thieves. This includes designing new identity theft screening filters that improves the IRS ability to spot false returns before they are processed and before a refund is issued.
The IRS has also expanded a program to protect victims with previously confirmed cases of identity theft. In late 2011, a group of taxpayers received a special identity protection personal identification number for use in filing their tax returns for this filing season.