If you file your federal tax return and you receive a message from the Internal Revenue Service that you’ve already filed, the odds are you are a victim of identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service said on Feb. 25.
Other indications you are an identity theft victim include information you were paid wages from an employer for whom you did not work; and you are notified you owe taxes for a year in which you were not required to file.
"Identity thieves sometimes use your personal information to file a tax return to claim a tax refund," the IRS cautioned. "Then, when you file your own tax return, the IRS will not accept it and will notify you that a return was already filed using your name and social security number. Often, learning that your return was not accepted or receiving a contact from the IRS about a problem with your tax return is the first time you become aware that you’re a victim of identity theft."
Among the ways identity thieves work are stealing your wallet or purse, posing as someone who needs information about you, looking through your trash, or stealing information you provide to an unsecured website or in an unencrypted e-mail.
If you believe there is a possibility someone may have gotten hold of private information, you may call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.