Tax identity thieves and IRS imposters are ready for tax season, whether you are or not. Join the FTC and its partners for Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week to find out how to protect yourself, and what to do if you or someone you know runs into problems.
What is tax identity theft? It happens when someone uses your Social Security number (SSN) to file a phony tax return and collect your refund. You may not find out it has happened until you try to file your real tax return and the IRS rejects it as a duplicate filing.
IRS imposters are scammers who pretend they’re calling from the IRS. They claim you owe taxes and demand that you pay right now, usually with a gift card or prepaid debit card. They threaten you’ll be arrested or face other bad consequences if you don’t pay. But it’s all a lie. If you send the money, it’s gone.
Join the FTC and its partners for free webinars and other events during Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Learn how to reduce your chance of tax identity theft, the red flag warning signs of IRS imposters, and what to do if fraud happens to you. All of the events will have information for everyone. Some also will highlight special resources for active duty service members, veterans, older adults and small businesses. Ask questions too. Check out the Calendar below to find the event that’s best for you.
To start fighting tax identity theft right away, remember:
- Protect your SSN throughout the year. Don’t give it out unless there’s a good reason and you’re sure who you’re giving it to.
- File your tax return as early in the tax season as you can.
- Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
- Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information.
- Check your credit report at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com. Make sure no one has opened a new account in your name.
Check out our resources below to learn more.
Calendar of Events
Each event is scheduled for an hour unless otherwise stated. Click the links to learn how to participate.
Wednesday, January 29, 1 p.m. ET
The FTC, Veterans Administration (VA), and U.S. Postal Inspection Service host a webinar on identity theft, tax identity theft, and more. Find out about special services available to veterans and active duty service members while getting a few days’ start on Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.
Monday, February 3, 2 p.m. ET
The first of two 30-minute webinars hosted by the FTC and the Identity Theft Resource Center. The February 3 webinar focuses on identity theft, its impact on victims, tax identity theft, and recovering from identity theft. The second webinar, on February 6, focuses on IRS imposters and other government imposter scams.
Tuesday, February 4, 2 p.m. ET
Protecting Sensitive Business and Customer Information: Practical Data Security Practices for Your Business. Experts from the FTC and IRS discuss:
- Protecting your business, customers, and employees against tax identity theft
- Imposter scams that target small businesses
- Practical cybersecurity practices, and
- Responding to a data breach
Wednesday, February 5, 10 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET
AARP, the FTC and the U.S. Treasury Department hold two telephone Town Hall meetings, at 10 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET. Learn about tax identity theft, government impostor scams, recovering from fraud, and where to get help. Please join us at the meeting time that’s convenient for you.
Thursday, February 6, 2 p.m. ET
The FTC and the Identity Theft Resource Center co-host a 30-minute webinar on government imposter scams. We’ll talk about IRS, Social Security Administration, and U.S. Census Bureau imposters, red flag warnings, protecting yourself, and how to recover if fraud happens to you.
Thursday, February 6, 3 p.m. ET
Join experts from the FTC, the Identity Theft Resource Center, and others for an #IDTheftChat on Twitter. We’ll offer tips on protecting yourself from tax identity theft and government imposters. Join the conversation at #IDTheftChat.
Read our article on Tax-Related Identity Theft.
Visit the IRS’s Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft.
What if tax identity theft happens to you?
Visit IdentityTheft.gov to report tax identity theft to the IRS and the FTC and get a personal recovery plan. IdentityTheft.gov helps you complete and file an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) online as your first step to recovery.
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