Next Steps for Victims of Identity Theft or Refund Fraud

Taxpayers who find they are victims of identity theft tend to feel very helpless.  It is important for the taxpayer to act immediately.  The taxpayer should take the following steps:

  • Contact the IRS and ask questions about the tax return in question.  The IRS can confirm that a return has already been filed using one or more of the Social Security numbers listed on the taxpayer’s legitimate return.

  • File a police report with your local law enforcement agency as soon as identity theft is confirmed.  The taxpayer will need a report number to supply to the Federal Trade Commission

  • .File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at or through the Identify Theft Hotline, 877-438-4338

  • Contact the credit reporting agencies:

Equifax – or 800-525-6285

Experian – or 888-397-3742

TransUnion – or 800-680-7289

The taxpayer should obtain a copy of his credit report and review it carefully for inquiries, existing accounts that have new or unusual activity or new accounts that may have been opened fraudulently.  He should close any accounts, which appear to have fraudulent activity and close new accounts that were opened illegally.

  • Contact the bank to let them know there has been a breach.

The IRS may send a notice to the taxpayer regarding the filing of his tax return if they suspect something is out of the ordinary.  The taxpayer should respond immediately.  If the taxpayer isn’t aware that he may be a victim of identity theft before he receives the letter and has not yet filed a tax return, he should take the steps mentioned above.


Cathy Fisher

Common Cents Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation

Serving Henderson, NC, Buncombe County, Polk County, Transylvania County


P: 828-595-2835

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