Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone steals personal information, such as a Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

Signs of Identity Theft

  • You receive a letter from the IRS asking about a suspicious tax return you didn’t file.
  • You can’t file a tax return because a duplicate Social Security number exists.
  • IRS records show you received wages or other income from an employer you didn’t work for.
  • You get an IRS notice that:
    • An online account has been created in your name (and you didn’t create one).
    • Your existing online account has been accessed or disabled when you took no action.
    • You owe additional tax.
    • Says collection action has been taken against you for a year you didn’t file a return.

Take Action

If you think you are a victim of identity theft, the IRS recommends you continue to file your return, even if you must file a paper return. In addition, if you are a victim of:

  • Tax-related identity theft: respond immediately to any IRS notice, and call the number provided, or go to
  • A data breach: follow the Federal Trade Commission’s recommended steps at
  • A fraudulent return or someone has fraudulently claimed your dependent: request Form 4506-F at
  • Employment-related identity theft: if you think your Social Security number or other personal information may have been used by another person without your permission for employment purposes, go to and search employment-related identity theft.

Remember, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email, social media, or text to request personal or financial information.