Usually, a victim becomes aware of ID theft when their refund doesn’t reach them or they are informed about a duplicate tax return filed in their name. During tax season, fraudsters use stolen identities and file false tax returns to receive big refunds. If you believe your identity has been stolen, you need to immediately take the following steps:

  1. File a Complaint with the FTC

You may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at identitytheft.gov or use the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 (TTY 1-866-653-4261).

  1. Contact the IRS Immediately

The IRS’ Identity Protection Specialized Unit can be reached at 1-800-908-4490. To report fraud, send a copy of your police report or IRS Form 14039, ID Theft Affidavit to the IRS. You will also need to provide proof of your identity, such as a copy of your driver’s license, passport or Social Security card.

If your return gets rejected because a return has already been filed using your Social Security Number, you may complete Form 14039, attach it with your return and mail it according to instructions provided therein.

  1. Place ‘Fraud Alert’ on Credit Records

To place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records, contact any one of the following three major credit bureaus:

  • Equifax (www.Equifax.com, 1-800-766-0008)
  • Experian (www.Experian.com, 1-888-397-3742)
  • TransUnion (www.TransUnion.com, 1-800-680-7289)

You may review and monitor your credit reports to spot any suspicious activity. Also, inform your bank or other financial institutions about the theft and request that they block any unauthorized or suspicious transaction made on your account(s).

  1. Report to the Police

Additionally, you may file a complaint with your local law enforcement agency. Credit bureaus and other business may require you to provide them with a police report to remove fraudulent transactions.

Keep a record of the communications you receive and send. The resolution process for identity theft is elaborate and may take weeks. Even if your identity has been stolen, you must file your tax return and pay your tax bill on time. For more information about tax related ID theft, you may use FTC’s publication – IdentityTheft.gov Bookmark – available in English and Spanish at ftc.gov.