What Is Tax Identity Theft and How Can You Protect Yourself?

What is shared here is based on our research and current understanding of information published by the IRS about tax identity theft. The information here information should in no way take the place of or override the advice of an IRS agent, tax preparer or accountant.

If you believe you’re the victim of identity theft, we recommend that you go to Personal Credit Coach for services that can help you recover from identity theft.

If dealing with the aftermath of identity theft, you should speak with the authorities, your bank and a tax professional before submitting your returns. If you’re dealing with credit card debt amidst your search for ways to save money, CreditGUARD is here for you with credit counseling and debt management solutions, but our credit counselors cannot and will not give tax advice.

  1. The definition of tax identity theft
  2. What to do if you think your identity has been stolen
  3. Understanding the impact of identity theft
  4. When to call CreditGUARD

The Definition of Tax Identity Theft

How does tax identity theft happen? There are a lot of ways one’s identity can be stolen:

  • Data breaches
  • Phishing
  • Spyware
  • Computer viruses
  • Phone scams
  • Physical theft

The IRS outlines its definition of tax identity theft as occurring “when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.”

Basically, it’s identity theft plus tax fraud.

What to Do if You Think Your Identity Has Been Stolen

If you’re in a situation where your identity may have been stolen, that is unfortunate. You should absolutely take action as soon as you feel your information has been compromised by reporting the identity theft to the appropriate authorities.

Go to IdentityTheft.gov to get started and to develop a step-by-step recovery plan. If you’ve received any official communication from the IRS, you should absolutely respond to it. Additionally, the IRS has a form specific to tax identity theft.

Understanding the Impact of Identity Theft

When it comes to the impact of identity theft, there are some obvious things to consider – your bank accounts, personal information and credit. This is an area that make take a bit of time to sort out. It may feel really overwhelming and even scary if you’re in the middle of this. That is normal. The emotional impact is often just as significant as the financial and social impact of having your identity stolen. What you lose in time and peace of mind is to be expected when dealing with multiple entities like banks, credit card companies, the FTC and the IRS.

The good news is that you can recover from identity theft and get back to feeling normal again and have your financial situation remedied.

When to Call CreditGUARD

As we mentioned, we recommend that you go to Personal Credit Coach to address identity theft. However, if you’re dealing with a credit card debt situation that feels bigger than you can resolve on your own or you’ve been falling behind on your monthly payments, call one of our certified credit counselors to learn more about our process and our programs here at CreditGUARD.