Some North Carolinians are in for a shock when they try to file their taxes. The IRS tells them that someone has already filed in their name—and has already claimed their refund.
Identity thieves are using stolen Social Security Numbers to file the fraudulent returns. Legitimate tax filers usually don’t know that their SSN is being misused until the IRS notifies them about the problem.
The Consumer Protection Division of the NC Attorney General’s Office is hearing from as many as 15 North Carolinians per week that have been the victim of this form of identity theft. In most cases, the legitimate taxpayers are able to work with the IRS to straighten out their tax returns and get their refund.
If this happens to you, take the following steps:
• Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit immediately at 1-800-908-4490.
• Check your credit reports for any unauthorized activity. You can get one free credit report per year from each of the three national credit bureaus at http://www.annualcreditreport.com/.
• Request a fraud alert from any of the three national credit bureaus.
• Consider a security freeze to stop access to new credit in your name. NC residents can get security freezes for free online.
• File an ID theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.