IRS and Tax Identity Scams | USAGov

Find out how to report IRS victimize, and learn how to identify and protect yourself from tax scams. There are things you can do to protect yourself from an IRS imposter scam. Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration ( TIGTA ) if you think that an IRS imposter has contacted you. Report IRS imposter scams online or by calling TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484. Forward electronic mail messages that claim to be from the IRS to phishing @ IRS imposter scams occur when person contacts you pretending to work for the IRS. The imposter may contact you by phone, e-mail, postal mail, or flush a textbook message. There are two coarse types of scams :

Learn About Tax ID Theft and How To Avoid It

Tax ID larceny occurs when person uses your social Security number to file taxes and claim a tax refund. You may not know that your tax ID has been stolen until you :

  • E-file your tax return and find that another return has already been filed using your Social Security number, or 
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends a 5071C letter to the address on the federal tax return indicating that tax ID theft has occurred.

Find out what steps you can take after receiving a 5071C letter and how you can avoid or report tax ID victimize .

What is a 501C letter?

The 5071C letter is a legitimate letter from the IRS that provides instructions to verify that you submitted the tax reappearance in question. If you receive a 5071C letter, verify your identity with the IRS. There are two ways to verify your identity with the IRS :

  • Online on the IRS’ secure Identity Verification Service website, or
  • By calling the toll-free number listed in your letter.

You will be asked a series of questions to verify your identity. You will besides be asked to confirm whether or not you filed the federal tax return in question. You will need the pursuit documents to verify your identity when you access the web site or call :

  • Your previous year’s federal tax return
  • Your current year’s federal tax return, if you’ve already filed it
  • Supporting documents from this year’s federal tax return, such as Form W-2, Form 1099, and Schedules A and C

How to report tax ID theft

It ’ sulfur authoritative to take carry through if you receive a 5071C letter from the IRS. You can besides take these steps if you become the victim of a tax ID larceny or if you receive a letter from the IRS about a problem .

  1. Respond immediately to any IRS notice by calling the number provided on the letter. If instructed, go to the IRS Identity Verification Service.
  2. Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Print it, then mail or fax it according to instructions.
  3. Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.
  4. If you are a victim of state tax ID theft, contact your state’s taxation department or comptroller’s office about the next steps you need to take.

If you ’ ve already contacted the IRS, but still need more tax ID larceny aid, you can call 1-800-908-4490. You should besides take these steps to report the scam and protect your bank accounts :

  1. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at You can also call the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 or TTY 1-866-653-4261.
  2. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records:
    1. Equifax: 1-888-766-0008
    2. Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    3. TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  3. Contact your financial institutions to close any accounts opened without your permission or that show unusual activity.

Prevent tax ID theft with an identification protection ID

identification Protection PINs ( IP PIN ) are six-digit numbers issued to taxpayers by the IRS to prevent tax ID larceny. If you ’ ve experience tax ID larceny in the past, the IRS will mechanically issue you an IP PIN. You can besides voluntarily request one. After the IRS issues your IP PIN, you will use it to file your return. This will help the IRS confirm your identity so no matchless can file a return using your personal data to fraudulently collect a refund. Learn more about the IP PIN and how you can apply.

Tips to protect yourself from tax ID theft

Follow these steps to prevent tax identity larceny .


File your income taxes early in the season, before a thief can file taxes in your name. besides, keep an eye out for any IRS letter or notice that states :

  • More than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number.
  • You owe additional tax.
  • You have had collection actions taken against you for a year when you did not file a tax return.
  • You have had a tax refund offset. 
  • IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer unknown to you.


Don ’ t reply to or click on any links in fishy emails, textbook, and social media messages. Make certain to report anything fishy to the IRS .

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