Identity Theft FAQ’s

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Can You eFile or File your Taxes Electronically after Identity Theft?

Yes, you can eFile or file your taxes electronically after you’ve been a victim of tax return fraud or identity theft.  You will need to have either a PIN number issued by the IRS or the correct AGI amount filed on last years return to complete this years return.

Has TurboTax been hacked?

No one really knows if Turbotax or any other electronic tax filing system such as HRblock, TaxACT, etc., was or has ever been hacked.  However, from everything that I have researched, it appears that Turbotax has never been hacked.

How long does it usually Take to get your Refund back after Identity Theft?

After you have been a victim of identity theft or tax return fraud it will typically take between six months to a year to get your refund back.  I have heard of situations where it has taken longer but I have never heard of it taking less time.  Obviously, me not hearing about something doesn’t make it a fact.  It took me seven months to get my stolen tax return back so Keep Hope Alive!

How can I get a PIN Issued to File my Taxes after Fraud?

There are two options for obtaining this PIN and all of this information is copied directly from the IRS.gov website:

Was the IRS Hacked?

I’ve been asked this question by several readers and my answer is this; What do you mean when you say “Was the IRS Hacked”?  Do you mean has someone got into their database and taken tax payer’s information to use it for fraud?  If that is what you mean, then I would guess the answer is No.

Now I need to ask you this, “If the IRS was hacked do you think that information would go public”?  I would think not.  Anyway, the IRS has probably not been hacked but I am sure there have been cases where an IRS employee has stolen someone’s identity while working for the IRS.

When considering the possibility of the IRS being hacked we also need to be logical about the whole situation – What organization, that has access to such valuable information, has never had an employee at some point and time steal that information and use it to commit some type of crime?  Let’s be real…..

How do I get the Correct AGI (adjusted gross income) amount to File taxes after Identity Theft?

You can call the IRS and beg them to give you the AGI that the thief reported OR you have the option of obtaining an IRS PIN.  You can find out more information about how to get the correct AGI amount in this post.

What does This message Mean: “A tax Return with the same Social Security Number has already Been submitted”?

It means:

Have there been many cases of identity theft with tax filings this year?

Last year there were literally hundreds of thousands of cases of stolen tax returns and identity theft and the number are growing.   To be more precise, the US Government Accountability Office reports that “As of September 30, 2012, IRS had identified almost 642,000 incidents of identity theft“.

And to answer the question – “Yes” there have been many cases of identity theft with tax filings this year.  The numbers are growing each year.  I would assume we don’t have any real numbers yet because the IRS is so overwhelmed with last years cases that they haven’t had time to count this year’s cases.  Once again, this is just my opinion.

How can i learn if I am a victim of federal tax refund scam?

You will know if you are a victim the minute you go to file your tax return and your return gets rejected.  If this is the case, you will need to begin the tax return fraud victim process.

Will my information be kept on file with Turbotax after eFiling?

Yes.  They tell you your information will be kept on file.  How else would they be able to file your return for you if they didn’t keep your information on file?  The information you provide them with is traded through a database and web servers connected to the IRS’ web servers and databases.  There is no way to avoid this.

What is the IRS doing about Tax Fraud?

They are working their butts off to get through the hundreds of thousands of tax return fraud cases they already have and weren’t prepared for and issuing PIN’s that don’t work.

Why is the IRS rejecting my tax return while using the PIN they gave me?

Because they don’t have a working system in place.  You will need to call them and/or try to get them to give you the AGI the thief used to file your last years return.

What to do after Fraud?

Conjure up all the patience you have because you are going to need it.

(I will finish this post  this weekend because there are a lot of things you are going to need to consider)

Can hackers hack Turbotax?

Hackers can hack anything, anywhere at anytime if they have the resources, technology and brain power to do so.  Turbotax’s website, programming system, applications or databases are not any more vulnerable than anyone Else’s set of systems used to generate your electronic tax return.

How do thieves get your information?

Thieves, hackers and other would-be criminals can get their grimy little paws on your information so many ways it unbelievable.  I am not going to list all of the ways, but I will give you a few of the most prevalent ways thieves get your information:

  • They work for a government agency such as the post office, police department, local drivers license office, etc. and they have access to all of that information and they just so happen to be thieves
  • They work in a bank and they just so happen to be thieves
  • Digging through your garbage
  • They work for credit card companies and they just so happen to be thieves
  • Your computer gets hacked
  • Your email gets hacked
    • Free public email providers get hacked much more than paid email services (I’m not going to say any names – Woo Hoo)
    • You stay logged into your email on a public computer and then you have payment information from say…Paypal or Ebay inside your emails so the thieves sort through them and find your information
    • You store your passwords or login information in your email
  • A family member you would never suspect steals your information and sells it to your local tax return thief
  • The hospital billing lady that lets you bleed to death before letting you see a doctor because she has to make sure you have sufficient medical insurance steals your information
  • Your child’s information, along with their social security number, gets stolen from someone sifting through school records.
  • Some thieves even guess your social security (see this article on how easy it is to guess someone’s social security number and why)

Hacking databases has to be the method that yields the most social security numbers at one time.  However a person working at the right agency with access to your personal information is probably one of the most used methods of stealing your identity.

Can i get an e-filing PIN if i was a victim of identity theft the previous year?

Yes – All you need to do is go here:  Electronic filing PIN request.

Do you need to file a police report for tax refund fraud?

Yes and no.  I was told by the IRS to file a police report but my local police department would not allow me to file the report due to the current popularity of tax return fraud and the overwhelming number of cases.  However, my identity theft case was not affected by not filing a police report.

How can you prevent identity theft?

Move to Neptune where you don’t need identity.

Honestly though.  I’ve never told you this but I used to work to prevent credit card fraud for a satellite television provider.  I have been a victim of identity theft twice.  The first time my Yahoo email account was hacked into and the thieves were able to access my eBay account which was connected to my Paypal account – some lovely person was able to order a car on eBay.  The dealer sent a message to my eBay account asking me when I was going to come and pick up the car that I ordered up in Maryland – I live in Miami.  Needless to say, I had not ordered a car.  Believe it or not, I cleared this situation up between eBay and PayPal in just two weeks.

My Yahoo email account continued to be hacked no matter what I did so I stopped using their email – this was over seven years ago.  They may have a more secure system in place at this time.

The only things you can really do to prevent identity theft are:

  • shred your personal information before you throw it away
  • do not reply to emails asking for personal information (they usually pose as your bank or credit card company
  • do NOT give your credit card or social security number to anyone who initiates contact and solicits goods or services to you over the phone or by email
  • do not give your personal info or credit card number to people from overseas who claim they are going to remove a virus from your computer
    • they are usually the ones who put the virus there in the first place
  • use a paid email service provider
  • be careful who you wire money to
  • stay away from public computers as much as possible
  • make sure your WiFi network is secure
  • change your computer passwords every few months
  • research any charity before giving them your money or information
  • check your credit once a year for unusual activity
    • The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. (you do not have to sign up for a membership or pay anything for this – It is your right)
    • To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228. Or download the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Things that don’t  typically put you at risk for identity theft:

  • Electronic bill paying
  • Online banking (these sites are extremely secure)

Things that do NOT work to prevent identity theft:

  • Expensive or any fraud protection software installed on your computer
  • Calling your credit card company and having no identifiable information to provide them with and then denying them your social security number over the phone.
  • Expensive fraud protection services

Final words,

Do not drive yourself crazy trying to prevent identity theft because it is damn near unpreventable.  No one is going to tell you this because they are busy trying to sell you their identity theft protection services.   Its almost like trying to prevent the flu – You can’t!

Tax return fraud can be prevented by the IRS by verifying all information before processing and issuing tax returns.  But that would mean you would have to wait for them to verify your information and that would take lots of time – something many of us, including myself, are not willing to sacrifice in this “instant gratification” world we live in.

Once we become victims of identity theft or fraud, credit reporting agencies could make things a lot easier on us by removing any erroneous information reported as a result of fraud once the fraud has been verified by the IRS or social security administration.

As a matter-of-fact, I think there should be a law that stipulates a time frame in which credit report agencies must have erroneous information removed from a credit report due to extenuating circumstances such as identity theft. What do you think?

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7 comments

  1. jessica

    I am a victim of identity fraud from last years taxes. When I filed this year, weres my refund, showed received, approved, sent, then 2 days later when no money on account, I checked website again and it said it is delayed (reference #1121) is this to ensure I am who I am, were there is no system in place for pins?? How much longer does it take?

  2. krissy

    Im a victim as well I have filed all the identity theft paperwork with irs an my local police department… I recently went to turbo tax to file I put my efile password in but its still not taking…wny

  3. helena

    Same issue. Filed my return in February 2014. It’s May….still no refund. Called 3 times. The only answer I get is to wait. (Jeopardy song playing in the background.) Thank God I’m not depending on this. Well…I’ll keep you guys updated. Btw, I filed with Turbo Tax too the previous 2 years. Can’t help but wonder if it has something to do with them as so many people who have dealt with them are having problems.

  4. Margaret Barclay

    I am trying to purchase a home. The mortgage company is trying to get my 2012 tax return verified by the IRS with a form 4506T. IRS advised me that someone else also filed a 2012 tax return using my social security number and had me fill out the Identity Theft paperwork. They said it would take 4 to 6 months to get straighted out and the bogus tas return removed from my records. In the mean time, they will not sent the mortgage company validation of the tax return I gave to them. Can a mortgage lender issue a FHA loan without the form 4506T being validated?

    • Angela Beasley

      Hello Margaret, I’m definitely not an expert on loans nor do I have any experience with FHA Loans. As much as I don’t want to come off as sarcastic, I would have to say to ask the mortgage lender. I don’t think its a matter of what they “can or may” do. I think the issue is what they “WILL” do. Just call them up and ask them if they will do it.

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