If someone uses your SSN to file taxes, chances are they intend to claim your tax refund. Through this article, we aim to learn what someone can do if their SSN is being used by another person to file taxes. Additionally, we will also explore how one can tell when their SSN has been stolen and review some precautionary measures regarding the protection of one’s key finacnail data from identity theft.

What To Do If Someone Uses Your SSN To File Taxes?

According to the IRS, if someone uses your SSN to file taxes, it means that you have been a victim of identity theft and should follow the below steps immediately:

  • If you’ve received a notice from the IRS regarding the matter, you should respond urgently. If a number is provided, you should call on the given number. For specialised assistance, you can call on 1-800-908-4490
  • If your filed tax return has been returned due to a duplicate filing using your SSN or the IRS has notified you, you should complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. You will find a fillable version of the form on the IRS.gov website which you can take a printout of, fill out, attach it to your return and mail it to the IRS according to their instructions. 
  • You can also visit the IdentityTheft.gov website for step-by-step instructions on how one may protect themselves and their financial accounts.
  • You should also credit freeze your accounts to avoid further financial damage as a result of the loss of your SSN.
  • Additionally, you should also file a police report and inform the Federal Trade Commission so that in case any illegal or criminal acts are committed using your SSN number, you are on record to report its theft.

If someone has filed a fraudulent tax return using your Social Security Number (SSN) and you want to see a copy of the transcript, you can request this using Form 4506-F on the IRS website. To process this form the IRS will need the following information regarding the applicant:

  • full name and Social Security Number
  • your complete mailing address
  • tax year(s) of the fraudulent return(s) 
  • signature in ink

If you use the services of an external party to file your tax returns, you should be careful about the firm or individual that you choose and make sure that they are registered with the IRS. Sometimes financial data including SSN can leak out when tax returns are being prepared.

How Do You Know Someone Is Using Your SSN To File Taxes?

Sometimes victims may not be aware that someone is using their SSN to file taxes unless the IRS informs them. It is possible that by this time, the victims have lost essential financial information at the hands of the identity thief who has been using their SSN and may be using it to commit other fraudulent acts as well.

It is therefore advisable to remain alert to certain critical situations regarding one’s financial accounts and personal information such as an SSN. Some of them include the following:

  • The IRS sends you a letter to inquire about a suspicious tax return but you have not filed any.
  • You try to e-file your tax return but you are unable to do so due to a duplicate Social Security number.
  • You receive a transcript of your tax returns but you did not place a request.
  • The IRS sends you a notification that an online account has been created in your name while you’ve not applied for one.
  • The IRS sends you a notification regarding changes to an existing online account, access details or that the account is disabled when you took no action.
  • The IRS sends you a notice regarding additional tax or refund offset.
  • IRS records mention details of wages against your SSN that you have not received.
  • The IRS assigns you an Employer Identification Number when you didnt request one.

How Do You Protect Your Identity From Being Stolen? 

If someone has used your SSN to file taxes, they can also use it to commit other fraudulent actions in the future. Therefore, you must keep the following suggestions in mind to avoid (a) the incident from repeating itself and (b) facing further damage due to the use of your SSN:

  • Remember that the IRS does not email, text or contact taxpayers through social media to request financial information. If you receive such communication, you should not share any information with the sender.
  • Never use a public wifi network, computer or laptop to file your taxes. Information entered in public internet domains can be accessed by hackers even if you sign out from the website.
  • Personal documents should always be kept safe in a locked cabinet where no one else can access them. You should not carry your Social Security card with you unless it is essential to do so.
  • Unwanted documents such as bills, receipts, credit or debit card slips, bank statements or even posts should not be discarded and should rather be shredded so that the information contained in them is not readable in any way.
  • Personal information such as passwords or pin codes should not be shared with anyone even if they claim to be from one’s bank or the police.
  • Unsolicited messages and phone calls that ask for personal information such as passwords, pin codes, social security, and credit or debit card numbers should not be answered and should be reported as scams in case of suspicious content.
  • One should not use the same password for multiple accounts as they are usually easy to guess for someone committing identity theft and can give them access to multiple financial sources.

Conclusion:

The discussion in this blog post makes it clear that if someone uses your SSN to file taxes, you should inform the IRS immediately. In addition to this, it is also advisable to file a police report and inform the Federal Trade Commission. 

FAQs: What To Do If Someone Uses Your SSN To File Taxes?

How can you find out if someone else is using your Social Security number?

If you want to find out whether someone else is using your Social Security Number you can request free credit reports from credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. However, if you suspect that someone is using your SSN, you should inform the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.

How do you check if someone claimed you on their taxes?

In order to check whether someone has claimed you on their taxes, you can file a tax return. If it gets rejected, it means that someone has already claimed you on their taxes.

Should I be worried if someone has my Social Security number?

Yes, you should be worried if someone who has no reason to have your Social Security number has this information as they may be a scammer who can gain access to your financial accounts using your SSN.

What is the penalty for illegally claiming someone as a dependent?

If someone is found guilty of providing faulty information such as illegally claiming someone as a dependant when they are nit, they can face up to three years in prison, be fined up to $250,000 and also made to pay the costs of their prosecution.

Can someone file your taxes without you knowing?

While someone can file your taxes without you knowing once, when you file for them the second time and they get rejected, you have reason to suspect that someone has filed your taxes fraudulently.

References:

Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft | Internal Revenue Service

What to Do If Someone Has Already Filed Taxes Using Your Social Security Number

What to Do If Someone Files a Fraudulent Tax Return in Your Name

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