Tax Insights

Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

Identity theft: how to protect yourself

With tax season underway and scams running rampant, here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:

  • The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or social media tools to request personal or financial information.
  • If someone contacts you claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it isn’t the real IRS calling.
  • Your identity may have been stolen if a letter from the IRS indicates more than one tax return was filed for you, or the letter states you received wages from an employer you don’t know.
  • If your tax records are not currently affected by identity theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost wallet, questionable credit card activity, or credit report, you need to provide the IRS with proof of your identity.
  • Show your Social Security card to your employer when you start a job or to your financial institution for tax reporting purposes.
  • IRS impersonations can take the form of email, websites, even tweets. Scammers may also use a phone or fax to reach their victims. If you receive a paper letter or notice via mail claiming to be the IRS but you suspect it is a scam, check the IRS phishing page at to determine if it is a legitimate IRS notice or letter.
  • Once your tax return has been e-filed, save the file to a CD or flash drive and then delete the personal return information from your hard drive.
  • If you become the victim of identity theft or believe you may be at risk due to a lost/stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity or credit report, please contact the IRS at the Identity Protection Specialized Unit, at 1-800-908-4490 in order to take steps to further secure your account. The IPSU hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. local time.

You will also need to fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039 and fax it to (855) 807-5720 or mail it to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 9039
Andover, MA 01810-0939

Shant Andonian


  1. antwan freeman says:

    I received a 5071c letter but everytime I call the hotline I get no answer,I use the website but I still haven’t received a notice back I would like to get a response…

    • admin says:

      Antwan –

      Thank you for your question and your interest in our blog. Unfortunately, during tax season the IRS is extremely busy with so many people calling and making inquiries. It is very difficult to get through and you may be waiting some time for a response. I would continue to reach out to them and hopefully you receive a response soon.