Did you know that your Social Security number can help an identity thief get a job, or the tax refund that should be yours?
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, cautions that thieves can use a stolen Social Security number to apply for a job or file for a tax refund under a false identity. The FTC advises that, if you think this has happened to you, or if you get an Internal Revenue Service notice indicating a problem, contact the IRS immediately for help with your tax return, any refund, and protecting your IRS account from identity theft in the future.
The FTC also recommends three steps to minimize the potential damage from identity theft:
- Put a fraud alert on your credit reports
- Review your credit reports
- Create an identity theft report by filing an identity theft complaint with the FTC and filing a police report.
Read the FTC's Tax-Related Identity Theft to learn how to uncover and deal with this problem, how to avoid phishing scams, and how to contact the IRS. For more information, visit the FTC's identity theft website.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.