Don’t Get Burned by IRS Identity Theft

Identity theft is a major problem, and it is only getting worse as the criminals continue to become more and more advanced. One of the biggest threats for many people is IRS identity theft. This is any type of tax related identity theft where criminals will use your social security number and other information to file a tax return. They will have the money deposited into their own account where the money can then be transferred anywhere in the world.

In most cases, the criminals will attempt to file tax returns as early as possible so that the victims are not even aware of the issue for weeks or even months. This can make it more difficult to catch the thieves.

What to Watch Out For

There are a number of things that the IRS recommends you watch for, which could be warning signs that you are a victim of IRS identity theft. They are:

  • If multiple returns have been filed on your Social Security Number.
  • If the IRS reports that you have wages from an employer that you did not work for.
  • If you owe additional taxes, or you had a refund offset that you were not aware of.

What to Do If You Are a Victim

As with all types of identity theft, the faster you respond the better the outcome will be. The first thing to do is reach out to your local law enforcement department to file a report. You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at To help protect yourself from further issues, put a “fraud alert” on your credit report by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus.

Reaching out to the IRS to alert them to the issue is also a good idea. The IRS will have you fill out some forms, including the Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, while they research the issue. The process can take some time, and you should be sure stay in touch with them throughout the case.

Please contact us today with any further IRS or state tax questions you may have!

Written by E. Morgan Maxwell

E. Morgan Maxwell

Since beginning his own firm, Mr. Maxwell has continued a tax-law oriented practice encompassing a wide range of transactions, planning and dispute resolution. His dispute resolution experience includes involvement at all levels of the Internal Revenue Service (Examinations, Appeals, Collections, Office of Professional Responsibility, the U.S. Tax Court), the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, the Tax Litigation Section of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, Common Pleas Court and local taxing jurisdictions in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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