The IRS uses your SSN to ensure that your filing is accurate and complete, and that you receive any refund that you are due. Identity theft can affect how your tax return is processed. An unexpected notice or letter from the IRS could alert you that someone else is using your SSN, however, the IRS does not start contact with a taxpayer by sending an email, text or social media message that asks for personal or financial information. If you receive an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it to email@example.com.
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If someone uses your SSN to obtain a job, the employer may report that person’s income to the IRS using your SSN. When you file your tax return, you will not include those earnings. The IRS records will show that you failed to report all of your income, and the agency will send you a notice or letter stating that you received wages but did not report them. The IRS does not know that those wages were reported by an employer you do not know.
If you believe that someone used your SSN for a tax refund or a job — or if the IRS sends you a notice or letter indicating a problem — you should contact the IRS immediately. Specialists will work with you to file your tax return, issue you any refund that you are due, and protect your IRS account from identity thieves in the future. (You can contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490).
After you contact the IRS, it is important to limit the potential damage from identity theft. You should put a "fraud alert" on your credit reports, order and review copies of your credit reports, and create an Identity Theft Report by filing an identity theft complaint with the FTC, and a police report at your local police station. (Visit IdentityTheft.gov for help with these steps).