If you have fallen victim to an identity theft scam or if a criminal has filed taxes in your name to fraudulently claim a tax refund, you probably already understand the headaches, paperwork, problems, and anxieties such a situation can create. When a taxpayer is affected by any form of identity theft, an array of problems can follow. This includes the fact that the taxpayer will need to clean-up the mess created by the fraud or identity theft.
At U.S. Tax Help, CPA Ted Kleinman can assist taxpayers who have been impacted by identity theft. Ted can help clean-up the immediate aftermath of identity theft. He can also assist with the tax filing process which is impacted once you have become an identity theft victim. To discuss how Ted can help, please call Ted at U.S. Tax Help at (541) 923-0903 or online.
The First Steps After Becoming Aware of Identity Theft
After discovering that you were the victim of a traditional identity theft scheme or the applied stolen identity return fraud (SIRF), there are certain steps you should take. To start, you should contact at least one of the three major credit agencies’ fraud department to inform them that you are affected by identity theft. You may contact Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion but do make sure that you contact one of these three credit agencies. When calling, be ready to provide your:
- Current and previous address
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Photo ID
- Telephone number
It is also wise to send a certified letter explaining the above. The letter may also identify erroneous or fraudulent information on your credit report. The individual should also ensure that an extended fraud alert lasting up to seven years is in place on the account. It is also worth considering whether it is appropriate to request a freeze on your credit reports. This will prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts under your identity.
After contacting the credit bureau, it is wise to also begin contacting any companies you may have a relationship with. This includes any company where you have provided any details or personal information that has been compromised. Also, please consider passwords and PINs. If you re-use one password or PIN code across multiple accounts, attackers may be able to gain access or control over these accounts. A good rule of thumb is to also contact any company or third-party that has received or been provided your credit report in the past six months.
Contact the FTC to Complete an Identity Theft Affidavit, Advise Your Local Police, and Advise Debt Collectors of Identity Theft
The individual should also complete an FTC identity theft affidavit to create a record of the identity theft event. It is also wise to contact local police and inform them of the identity theft. The individual should provide as much detail as possible and should also request the police to run a check to detect any irregular or criminal activity being committed with your Social Security number or identity. It is also prudent to provide any bill collectors with the above information.
Preparing for Filing Taxes After Identity Theft
If you are the victim of identity theft, you could experience either stolen identity tax return fraud (SIRF) or employment fraud. SIRF means a third party will fraudulently claim a tax refund in your name. Employment tax fraud occurs when an identity thief uses your identity to work or draw benefits.
Generally, individuals whose taxes are impacted by identity theft can no longer use their compromised Social Security number to file taxes. This means that the taxpayer should inform the IRS and engage in certain fraud procedures. For one, the IRS will place a flag on the taxpayer’s account that will advise agents that it should be closely monitored. Furthermore, the taxpayer will be assigned an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP-PIN). The taxpayer must utilize this number when filing his or her taxes.
CPA Can Help You Handle Your Finances and Taxes after Identity Theft
If you have been affected by identity theft or are an identity theft victim, the impacts can affect you for years to come. Therefore, it is essential to address matters of this type comprehensively and as quickly as possible. Ted Kleinman and U.S. Tax Help can assist with getting you onto the right track to recovery after identity theft. Schedule a free consultation by calling U.S. Tax Help at (541) 923-0903 or online.