Tax Related Identity Theft

Feb. 3, 2023

Identity thieves and IRS imposters are ready for tax season, whether you are or not. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself, and what to do if you or someone you know runs into problems. 

What is tax identity theft? It happens when someone uses your Social Security number (SSN) to file a phony tax return and collect your refund. You may not find out it has happened until you try to file your tax return and the IRS rejects it as a duplicate filing.

IRS imposters are scammers who pretend they’re calling from the IRS. They claim you owe taxes and demand that you pay right now, usually with a gift card or prepaid debit card. They threaten you’ll be arrested or face other bad consequences if you don’t pay. But it’s all a lie. If you send the money, it’s gone.

The FTC has many resources to inform and educate taxpayers. To learn more, read their article on Tax-Related Identity Theft and visit for resources to help you avoid and respond to identity theft scams.

To start fighting tax identity theft right away, remember:

  1. Protect your SSN throughout the year. Don’t give it out unless there’s a good reason and you’re sure who you’re giving it to.
  2. File your tax return as early in the tax season as possible.
  3. Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
  4. Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information.
  5. Check your credit report at least once a year for free at Make sure no one has opened a new account in your name.

Identity theft is a concern year round, not just at tax time! Here are some additional tips to protect your identity:

Take a moment to verify the identity of anyone who emails or texts you claiming they are:

  • Your bank, your job, or a federal agency and you owe them money.
  • Your bank, your job, or a federal agency and there is unusual account activity.
  • Your friend or loved one is in trouble or needs money for bail.
  • Your service desk or other business and asks you for your password.

Secure your personal devices with hard-to-guess passcodes, and enable location services and remote wiping capabilities whenever they are available.

Keep paper correspondence with personal information secure by storing in a locking file cabinet. Shred what you don’t want to keep.

Tax day is Monday, April 18, 2023!  

UA Security Matters is a system-wide effort to increase awareness on cybersecurity topics. We wish you a happy, healthy, and secure holiday season! For more cybersecurity information, please visit the UA Security Matters website at or email us at

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