Today is the start of both the FTC’s Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week and the IRS’s tax filing season. What better time to find out how to reduce the risk that you or someone you know w
ill become a victim of tax-related identity theft?
Join us this week for free webinars and Twitter chats focused on tax-related identity theft and IRS imposter scams. Hear from experts from the FTC, IRS, Department of Veterans Affairs, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program, and elsewhere. There are events for all consumers, and additional information for service members, older adults, and business owners.
Our first event — a webinar for consumers hosted by the FTC and the Identity Theft Resource Center — starts at 2 p.m. EST today. Visit ftc.gov/taxidentitytheft for details about how to participate in all the week’s activities.
What is tax-related identity theft? It happens when someone uses your Social Security number (SSN) to claim your tax refund or earn wages. You might find out that it has happened when you get a notice from the IRS saying more than one tax return was filed with your SSN, or IRS records show you have wage income from an employer you don’t know.
There is some encouraging news though — last year, 22% of the identity theft complaints to the FTC concerned tax-related identity theft, falling from 33% in 2016. Total identity theft complaints to the FTC also were down, dropping to 371,157 complaints in 2017, from 399,223 in 2016. It was the second year in a row that identity theft complaints to the FTC declined.
There also was encouraging news about IRS imposters — the scam callers who say they’re from the IRS and threaten you’ll be arrested or fined unless you pay them immediately for supposed past-due taxes. We received 56,065 complaints about IRS imposters last year, down a whopping 54% from 2016.
Efforts to combat tax-related identity theft and IRS imposters are having an impact. We’ll have to wait to see if the declines turn into long-term trends. In the meantime, you can be sure of this: the more you know about tax-related identity theft and IRS imposter scams, the better your chance of avoiding them. Do join us for a free Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week event.