The recent compromise of more than 100,000 identities in the IRS data bank has sent jitters down everyone’s spine. People are wondering if it affected them. Were you? How would you know if you identity was one of the 100,000 stolen? Click here to read or watch more IRS Help resources. Here are some tell-tale signs according to the IRS:
1. Your wallet or purse was stolen or lost
This is obviously the clearest indication that your identity could have been stolen. Identity thieves may use your name and Social Security number in a variety of ways, one of which is to claim your tax refund.
2. You receive a letter from the IRS
If the IRS receives what it suspects to be a fake tax return or tax refund request, they will write you a letter informing you accordingly. But you will never receive an email out of the blue especially one that asks for your personal and financial information. Do not click on any links in such an email and do not reply. Instead, forward the email to the IRS.
3. You notice questionable activity in your credit card or credit report
If such a thing happens, you most likely have become a victim of identity theft. The strange activity in your credit card bill is what the identity thief is doing to steal from you.
Here’s what to do:
1. If you have received a letter from the IRS, respond immediately so that they can take steps to secure your account. The IRS will offer you free credit monitoring. There will be a form attached with the letter to sign up for such monitoring.
2. Go to the IRS website, www.irs.gov and download Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit. This is how to lodge an official notice to the IRS of the possibility that you have become a victim. Please write legibly and give all information requested in the form.
3. Make a police report. This is obligatory.
4. Contact the credit bureau and inform them of what happened. By doing so, you are placing the credit bureau on fraud alert.
The IRS believes there was an organized syndicate behind the elaborate attack on its data base. The criminals managed to access tax-return information of more than 100,000 taxpayers that includes Social Security Numbers, dates of birth and home addresses. According to the IRS, some of that information was the used to file fake tax returns amounting to more than $50 million in fraudulent returns.
For more information, visit www.irs.gov and type ‘identity theft’ into the search field.