Avoiding Fraud and Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, social security number, or credit card number, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make — or until you’re contacted by a debt collector.
Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing, or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.
-Federal Trade Commission
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Please review the following resources to learn more about how to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Fighting Back Against Identity Theft by the Federal Trade Commission
- What Should I Do To Avoid Becoming A Victim Of Identity Theft? by the U.S. Department of Justice
- Student Aid and Identity Theft (PDF) by the U.S. Department of Education
- Identity Theft Resource Center ("IRTC"), a nonprofit, nationally respected organization dedicated exclusively to the understanding and prevention of identity theft
- Identity Theft Resources by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit consumer and advocacy organization
- U.S. Social Security Administration Identity Theft Information
- U.S. Better Business Bureau Identity Theft Information
- Fight Identity Theft
- Taking Charge: what to do if your identity is stolen and what to know if your identity is stolen
- Rights for Identity Theft Victims
Requirements for Verification of Victims of Identity Theft
Beginning with the 2013 tax year, tax filers who, because of IRS identity theft, are denied an IRS Tax Return Transcript using one of the regular request processes, will be referred to the Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) toll-free number at 800.908.4490. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you do not need to be referred to the IPSU. Call the number directly or go to the ID theft website on irs.gov. After the IPSU authenticates your identity, you can request that the IRS mail to the tax filer an alternate paper tax return transcript. The alternate transcript is known as the TRDBV (Transcript Data Base View).
If you are a victim of tax administration identity theft and are not able to obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript or to use the IRS DRT, you must contact the IRS at 1.800.908.4490. Upon authentication of your identity, the IRS will provide:
- a TRDBV (Transcript Data Base View), which you must sign, or a printout of your IRS income tax return information (sent by the IRS through the U.S. Postal Service)
- a statement that you must sign and date indicating that you were a victim of IRS identity theft and that the IRS is investigating the matter (the statement must also indicate that you submitted a Form 14039 to the IRS, but did not keep a copy of it or that you were not required to file the form)