Consumers need to know that identity theft is more prevalent during tax season and holidays. Identity thieves may use your information to file a fraudulently tax return and claim a refund. In other cases, the identity thief uses the taxpayer’s personal information in order to get credit cards, personal loans, mortgage, etc. The legitimate taxpayer may be unaware that anything has happened until they file their return or apply for credit. On the prevention side, the IRS has taken numerous steps to protect taxpayers by putting new processes in place for handling tax returns.
To report identity theft, fraud, or misuse of Social Security number, the national’s consumer protection recommends that you take the following steps:
Step 1 Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the three companies:
A. Equifax – 1 800 525-6285
B. Trans Union 1 800 680-7289
C. Experian 1 888 397-3742
Step 2 Review your credit report for inquires from companies you have not contracted; accounts you did not open; and debt on accounts that you cannot explain.
Step 3 Close any accounts you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Step 4 File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
Step 5 File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling them at 1-877-438- 4338.
For more information about identity theft, contact Robert Burch at (773) 779-4447 or visit IRS Identity Theft Protection page at IRS.gov. home page.