Identity theft is something that is all too common in this day in age. You may not want to believe it but numbers show us that it is more common than anyone likes to think.
According to the Wall Street Journal, 803 individual records have been stolen in the last three years alone. The population of the US is close to 319 million, which means despite the fact that everyone’s information has not been stolen; it could have been stolen 2.5 times in the past three years.
When tax season rolls around, this is when criminals put the stolen information to use.
How It Works
Once a thief has your name, birth date and social security number, they can file a fraudulent return. They make up all of the other information so they can generate a tax refund. You won’t find out that your information has been used until your tax return is rejected by the IRS.
By this time, the thief has the return money and you have a mess on your hands to clean up.
The Treasury Department can take up to 278 days to resolve a tax identity theft case. This means you have to prove you are who you say you are, deal with balance due, offsets, or other collection actions, and you do not get your tax refund for the year.
How to Handle Tax Identity Theft
- If you use a tax professional to file your taxes, take the IRS letter/notice to them so they can assist you.
- File Form 14039
- File a police report
- File an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission
- Set up fraud alerts with the major credit bureaus
- Monitor your credit reports closely for at least a year
- Notify all of your financial intuitions
- Submit your tax return by paper
As you can see this is a lot of work. However, if you file with H & R Block they have a variety of products and safeguards to help you protect your identity better.
- Tax Identity Shield – You call the hotline when someone files a fraudulent return. The number is found in your MyBlock account.
File and calculate your taxes with H & R Block to ensure that the tax professionals there have your best interests in mind.