Protecting Your Client: Tips and New IRS and Government Projects to Deter ID Theft in 2016
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is at the forefront of combatting Identity theft. The FTC's website at www.identitytheft.gov provides helpful steps of what a victim needs to do once they determine they have been a victim of ID theft.
Act quickly to limit the damage.
Call the companies where the client knows fraud occurred. Provide as much information as possible concerning the individual who stole the identity, if known. Ask the company to freeze the account so no one can use the account for fraudulent purposes. Finally change all logins, passwords and PINS on the accounts.
Place a fraud alert and get a current credit report. Make contact with one of the three credit bureaus, That company is then obligated to inform the other two.
A fraud alert is free. It will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your client’s name. Your client will get a letter from each credit bureau. It will confirm that the credit bureau has placed a fraud alert on your file.
- Equifax.com/CreditReportAssistance 1-888-766-0008
- Experian.com/fraudalert 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion.com/fraud 1-800-680-7289
To get a credit reports right away go to: www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
Report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service.
Complete the FTC’s online complaint form https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. The client should give as many details as they can. Many cases of tax return identity theft will not be known until an e-filed return has been rejected. A copy of the reject acknowledgment should be made available to the client. The complaint form is not available on mobile devices, but the client can call 1-877-438-4338 to make the report.
They should print and save the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit immediately. Once they leave the page, they will not be able to get the affidavit.
File a report with your local police department.
Go to your local police office with:
- A copy of your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit
- A government-issued ID with a photo
- Proof of your address (mortgage statement, rental agreement, or utilities bill)
- Any other proof you have of the theft (bills, IRS notices, etc.)
- FTC's Memo to Law Enforcement - reproduced at the end of the article.
Tell the police someone stole your identity and you need to file a report. If they are reluctant, show them the FTC's Memo to Law Enforcement. The client should ask for a copy of the police report. This document will be needed to complete other required steps.