North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice
Submit this request

Thieves file phony tax returns

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tax return identity theft happens when thieves use your Social Security Number to file tax returns and claim a large refund. You discover the fraud when you file your own tax return and the Internal Revenue Service says they’ve already processed a return using your name and number.

Avoiding tax return ID theft starts by protecting your confidential information. Don’t carry your Social Security Number in your wallet or purse unless you need it with you for an appointment that day. Don’t leave your SSN where someone can steal it, and shred unneeded documents that include it. Another way to try to beat these thieves is to get your tax return filed as soon as possible. Don’t let the thieves jump in line ahead of you.

If you get a letter from the IRS stating that they already processed your return, contact their Identity Protection Specialized Unit immediately at 1-800-908-4490. In most cases, taxpayers are able to work with the IRS to straighten out their tax returns and, eventually, get their refund.

For more about how to prepare and file your tax forms safely, see our tax time tips and other useful information at