Tax Identity Theft

Tax Identity Theft

protect your identity from tax related fraud.

Have questions?  Call 1-800-261-6888.

What is Tax Identity Theft?

Tax identity theft occurs when someone obtains and uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund. It also can happen when someone uses your Social Security number to get a job or claims your child as a dependent on a tax return. Tax identity theft has been the most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the past five years.

Tax identity thieves get your personal information in a number of ways.

For example:

  • Someone goes through your trash or steals mail from your home or car

  • Imposters send phony emails that look like they’re from the IRS and ask for personal information

  • Employees at hospitals, nursing homes, banks, and other businesses steal your information

  • Phony or dishonest tax preparers misuse their clients’ information or pass it along to identity thieves

To lessen the chance you’ll be a victim:

  • File your tax return early in the tax season, if you can, before identity thieves do.

  • Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically. Don’t use unsecure, publicly available Wi-Fi hotspots at places like coffee shops or a hotel lobby.

  • 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 first contact you by mail.

  • Don’t give out your Social Security number (SSN) or Medicare number unless necessary. Ask why it’s needed, how it’s going to be used, and how it will be stored.

  • Get recommendations and 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 800-908-4490.

  • Check your credit report at least once a year for free at to make sure no other accounts have been opened in your name.

Do you believe you are the victim of Tax Identity Theft?

If you think someone used your SSN for a tax refund or a job — or the IRS sends you a notice or letter indicating a problem — contact the IRS immediately. Specialists will work with you to get your tax return filed, get you any refund you are due, and protect your IRS account from identity thieves in the future.

  • Contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-908-4490

    • Report the fraud.

    • Send a copy of your police report or an IRS ID Theft Affidavit Form 14039 (PDF) and proof of your identity, such as a copy of your Social Security card, driver’s license or passport.

  • Update your files.

    • Record the dates you made calls or sent letters.

    • Keep copies of letters in your files.

After you contact the IRS, it's important to limit the potential damage from identity theft:

Visit for help with these steps.

Learn more about Tax Identity Theft from the IRS: