My Identity’s Been Stolen, Now What?

Key Takeaways:

  • Over 3 million Americans are projected to be the victim of tax-related identity theft in 2015.
  • If you are notified by the IRS that your taxes were filed multiple times for the year, it might be that your Social Security number has been compromised.
  • If you’re identity has been stolen, it’s important to notify the appropriate parties as soon as possible.

Did you file your taxes yet? Better yet, did you file your taxes only to find out they have already been filed? While I’d like to tell you that CPA’s are just getting more efficient, unfortunately in most cases this is the potential warning sign of fraud. And believe it or not, it’s been a reality for a few million Americans this year. Per a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, almost 3 million incidents of tax-related identity theft occurred in past years, and it’s projected this year’s figures will be much higher. The article describes the identity breach as follows:

“Tax-related identity theft occurs…when a criminal uses a stolen Social Security number to forge a tax return and attempt to get a fraudulent refund early in filing season.  The fraud often surfaces when the legitimate taxpayer files his or her return later in the season and finds that two returns have been filed using the same Social Security number.”

Unfortunately, we’ve had a few clients recently experience this exact situation and ask for our guidance.  I thought I’d pass along a checklist of things you should do if you think your Social Security number is compromised in any way, or if you experience another type of identity theft.  It is important to notify the parties listed below as soon as you know of an issue

For tips on how to prevent identity theft before it happens, refer to a few prior blog posts we’ve written here, here and here.   If you have been a victim and would like some additional support, please don’t hesitate to email me or call us at the office here, (610) 695-8070, we’ll be happy to help you through this process.

 

Identity Theft Checklist: What to do if you’re a victim

  1. File a report with your local law enforcement
  2. Contact the IRS if you believe you may have tax issues because of the identity theft and fill out IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit
  3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
  4. Contact the Social Security Administration to report the problem
  5. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records, and monitor your current credit reports for suspicious activity
  6.  File an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
  7. Contact your financial institutions to notify them of the fraud and close any accounts opened without your permission
  8. If you hold accounts with us through Charles Schwab, contact the Schwab Theft ID Team
    • 877-862-6352

 

Download the Identity Theft Checklist.

About Patrick Runyen

As a Wealth Manager at Independence Advisors, Patrick Runyen, CPA/PFS, CFP® works closely with clients to implement wealth management solutions. He leverages his technical financial planning and consulting experience to assist clients with investment counseling, retirement planning, estate planning, wealth enhancement, asset protection, tax planning, and other personally significant financial decisions. CLICK HERE TO ASK PAT.

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