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Why the 'Tax Man' cares about identify theft

Tuesday - 2/26/2013, 1:37pm  ET

Kristi King, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Identity theft can affect people's taxes and tax records. Crooks with access to other people's personal information can file false tax returns to try to collect the money.

The Internal Revenue Service has a list of warning signs suggesting identity theft has occurred.

It also has tips to helpprotect personal information.

Some warning signs of fraud include taxpayers receiving a letter from the IRS indicating more than one tax return has been filed in their name. The IRS also may notify someone about undeclared income from working at a business the taxpayer has never heard of before.

To protect personal information the IRS suggests:

  • People use complicated passwords when filing electronically
  • Don't save those filed returns on personal computers
  • Copy filed returns to an external source such as a disc
  • Never click on links in email erroneously claiming to be from the IRS
  • Do not carry Social Security cards or give out the number to businesses just because they ask

Also, realize the IRS only will contact taxpayers through the U.S. Mail and will never make contact through email, texts or social media.

The IRS wants to hear from anyone who loses their wallet and personal information, or suspects they're a victim of identity theft or a phishing attempt to steal personal information. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1- 800-908-4490.

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Tags: irs