Identity Theft June 12, 2012 Identity theft is a growing concern. Identity theft is when someone uses another person’s personal information (social security number, name, etc.) for fraudulent purposes without his permission. One method commonly used is to file a tax return on another’s behalf without his permission. According to the IRS’s Incident Tracking Statistics Report, during the 2011 calendar year alone, there were more than 600,000 taxpayers affected by identity theft. Ways to reduce the chance of having identity theft occur to you: Check your credit report once a year. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet. Do not respond to emails purportedly from the IRS. The IRS does not use email to initiate contact with taxpayers to request personal information. If you receive an email that you believe is scam forward it to email@example.com. If you come across a website that does not begin with www.irs.gov but claims to be the IRS, forward the link to firstname.lastname@example.org. The thief will usually file a fraudulent tax return early in the filing season and claim a refund. The unsuspecting taxpayer will only become aware once he tries to file his tax return and discovers that two returns have been filed using the same social security number. Sometimes, the thief may also use the unsuspecting taxpayer’s information in order to get a job; a W-2 would then be issued in the taxpayer’s name from an employer unbeknownst to him. If you suspect you may be a victim of identity theft and that your tax records may be compromised, you should notify the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 immediately. Prompt action will equip you with the tools to resolve the issue with the least headache involved. You can also contact a KatzAbosch representative to help assist you in this matter.