Tax ID theft: What to do
We're hearing from more local families whose social security information was stolen from the data base at the Archdiocese of Seattle. New victims appear to be discovering the fraud daily. Many are not sure what to do or what to expect now that thieves have filed taxes in their name.
The attack marks the latest in a growing, nationwide trend of tax ID theft where imposters hijack your identity in order to file tax returns and collect fraudulent refunds. A spokesman for the Archdiocese says its privately-hired computer forensics firm is working its own investigation, in addition to investigations by the FBI and the IRS, but right now, it's impossible to tell how widespread the breach might be.
As soon as you discover that someone other than you has filed taxes claiming to be you call the IRS, or go to the Internal Revenue Service website , and find the section in ID Theft Protection. You'll find a link to a special form you need to complete. It's called an Identity Theft Affidavit.
Next, go to the Federal Trade Commission website. Click on Tips and Advice for a drop down menu - then click For Consumers. That's where you'll learn how to place a fraud alert on your credit reports, how to check your credit reports to monitor future activity and how to file an Identity Theft Report with the FTC.
You'll also need to file a police report with your local law enforcement agency. Filing an identity theft report is an important step in any I-D theft situation. You can typically do it by phone. Your local police department should give you a case number to keep in your I-D theft file. You'll likely need that police case number when you file the fraud reports with the IRS and FTC. Remember to keep everything related to your case in the same file where you can access and update the information easily.