What to do if your tax records were affected by identity theft? :: Wamhoff Financial & Accounting

What to do if your tax records were affected by identity theft?

Though most people do not know enough about this kind of crime, the IRS investigations of tax-related identity theft are up 66 percent since 2012. The agency says it has identified 14.6 million false returns and stopped $50 billion in fraudulent refunds since then, but the problem continues to grow.

If you know that your identity has been compromised, you will need to complete the IRS form 14039. If you have already lost your tax refund to an identity thief, their reporting mechanism may not be enough to resolve your existing case. If you know your information is in the hands of the bad guys, make sure you cover your bases with the IRS as well as the credit reporting agencies, the Social Security Administration, and your creditors.

While the IRS knows how many thieves it catches, the Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration suspects that an additional 1.1 million fraudulent returns (and $3.6 billion in refunds) slipped through IRS filters in 2011. He also reported that the agency issued $183 million in tax refunds that year to identity thieves – based on the 174,000 Social Security numbers that were used on tax returns in 2011 – after the criminals had submitted fake returns, and before legitimate taxpayers legally filed.

Steps that need to be taken:
If you receive a notice from the IRS, respond immediately. If you believe someone may have used your SSN fraudulently, please notify the IRS immediately by responding to the name and number printed on the notice or letter. You will need to fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit. For victims of identity theft who have previously been in contact with the IRS and have not achieved a resolution, please contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit, toll-free, at 1-800-908-4490.

Child Identity Theft:
One in 40 households with children under age 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity fraud, according to the 2012 Child Identity Fraud Survey, conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research and sponsored by ITAC. The Federal Trade Commission recommends checking to find out whether your child has a credit report around his or her 16th birthday. “If there is one — and it has errors due to fraud or misuse — you will have time to correct it before the child applies for a job, a loan for tuition, or a car, or needs to rent an apartment,” advises the FTC’s website.

Victor Seacy director of fraud operations for Identity Theft 911, an identity theft resolution service recommends that parents should check every six to twelve months, but especially during the years before they turn 18. That way if something does exist, they have time to resolve (it) before the child needs to use their credit. This is for situations where there is no reason for them to be concerned. If they have reason to believe their child’s information is compromised they should do it more frequently.

In order to protect our clients from identity theft we have two means of securely getting your documents to and from us. We have the Portal and secure email which are both industry specific to Wamhoff. If you have questions on this or would like more information on the above please contact Otto Kurtz at (636)573-1211.