Q: I am unable to file my taxes because someone used my social security number. What should I do?
A: If you recently found out that someone used your Social Security number to file taxes, you will need to report the fraudulent activity to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) immediately. The IRS usually sends out a letter indicating that more than one tax return was filed with your Social Security number and you will need to respond to the name, address or phone number on the IRS notice.
Contacting the IRS When Someone Files Taxes with Your SSN
If you decide to submit a report by mail, you will need to provide proof of identity by submitting some form of government-issued identification such as a driver’s license or a passport, and also fill out a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit.
If you’ve already reported an incident of identity theft to the police, make sure you include a copy of the police report with your report to the IRS.
You can send this information in the following ways:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 9039
Andover, MA 01810-0939
FAX: Note that this is not a toll-free FAX number
If you have not achieved a resolution based off previous contact by the IRS, you can call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-08-4490.
Reporting SSN Theft to the Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also handles instances of identity theft and can get in touch with various law enforcement agencies to investigate the situation further. Call the FTC directly at 1-877-IDTHEFT and learn more about your options by reviewing the materials on the FTC Identity Theft website.
Remember that once someone has your Social Security number, they can use it to not only file taxes but also to get access to your current credit card and bank accounts, to obtain your credit report, and even gain employment.
Some identity thieves may use your Social Security number to open multiple credit card accounts and to charge purchases. Others will withdraw money from your bank account and pretend to be you by issuing payments in your name or by applying for a loan. Taking action as soon as you detect suspicious activity may help to catch the thief and prevent further damage.
Dealing with misuse of your Social Security number and identity theft can be stressful and challenging, but there are several things you can do to prevent the problem from getting worse and to protect yourself from a similar situation in the future.
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