The Internal Revenue Service has launched Identity Theft Central, designed to improve online access to information on identity theft and data security protection for taxpayers, tax professionals and businesses.
Located on IRS.gov, Identity Theft Central is available 24/7 at irs.gov/identitytheft. It is a resource on how to report identity theft, how taxpayers can protect themselves against phishing, online scams and more.
Improving awareness and outreach are hallmarks of initiatives to combat identity theft coordinated by the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry, all working in partnership under the Security Summit banner, according to an IRS news release on the topic.
Since 2015, the Security Summit partners have made substantial progress in the fight against tax-related identity theft. But thieves are still constantly looking for ways to steal the identities of individuals, tax professionals and businesses in order to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds.
The partnership has taken a number of steps to help educate and improve protections for taxpayers, tax professionals, and businesses. As part of this effort, the IRS has redesigned the information into a new, streamlined page − Identity Theft Central − to help people get the information they need on ID theft, scams and schemes, the IRS news release said.
From this special page, people can get specific information including:
- Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft, including what to do if someone becomes a victim of identity theft
- Identity Theft Information for Tax Professionals, including knowing responsibilities under the law
- Identity Theft Information for Businesses, including how to recognize the signs of identity theft
The page also features videos on key topics that can be used by taxpayers or partner groups. The new page includes a video message from IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, warning signs for phishing email scams – a common tactic used for identity theft – and steps for people to protect their computer and phone.
Tax professionals and others may want to bookmark Identity Theft Central and check their specific guidance periodically for updates.
This is part of an ongoing effort by the IRS to share identity theft-related information with the public. The IRS continues to look for ways to raise awareness and improve education and products related to identity theft for taxpayers and the tax professional community.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.
Know the Signs of Identity Theft
You may not know you’re a victim of identity theft until you’re notified by the IRS of a possible issue with your return.
Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if:
- You get a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you did not file.
- You can’t e-file your tax return because of a duplicate Social Security number.
- You get a tax transcript in the mail that you did not request.
- You get an IRS notice that an online account has been created in your name.
- You get an IRS notice that your existing online account has been accessed or disabled when you took no action.
- You get an IRS notice that you owe additional tax or refund offset, or that you have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didn’t work for.
How IRS Helps
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry work in coordination as the Security Summit to protect taxpayer data. The program includes safeguards that identify suspicious returns, it said in the news release.
- Initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media to request personal or financial information.
- Call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests.
- Call, email or text to request taxpayers’ Identity Protection PINs