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Tax Related Identity Theft and Other Tax Scams

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration estimates that 1.6 million Americans were victims of tax related identity theft and refund scams in the first six months of 2013, an increase from 1.2 million in all of 2012. Don’t let this happen to you! Be on alert for these common scams:

Advice for Avoiding Tax Scams

Remember never to provide personal or financial information to unknown individuals over the phone or through e mail and text messages. Also, be alert for phony websites created by scam artists attempting to steal information. The IRS and Minnesota Department of Revenue do not request personal or financial information from taxpayers by e mail or text message, and do so by phone only in very rare instances. If in doubt, don’t give it out. Instead, contact these agencies directly using the contact information listed on their websites or in the tax booklets.

Check your credit report at least once a year and report inaccuracies. Many people first learn they are victims of identity theft by discovering inaccuracies on their credit report. Minnesota residents can obtain a free credit report every twelve months from the three major credit bureaus by calling 1 877 322 8228, online at, (External Link) or by writing to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348 5281.

If you hire a tax professional to prepare your return, ask for his or her credentials up front. Be wary of preparers who promise guaranteed refunds or charge a fee based on a percentage of your refund. Always make sure you review your return and ask your preparer questions about entries you don’t understand before signing it. Never sign a blank form! You are responsible for all the information on your tax returns regardless of whether someone else prepared it.

Victims of Tax Related Identity Theft

If you are the victim of tax related identity theft, there are certain steps you should take to protect your identity. First, call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490 and the Minnesota Department of Revenue 1-800-652-9094. Second, complete an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) and submit it to the IRS. Third, place a fraud alert on your credit report by calling the three major credit bureaus as follows:

Going forward, monitor your credit report and financial accounts for suspicious activity. If you discover incorrect information on your credit reports, dispute it with the credit bureaus. If you find unauthorized activity in your financial statements, immediately contact your financial institution’s fraud department.

You can find more information and a step by step guide for victims of tax related identity theft at  (External Link) and  (External Link)

For additional information, contact the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson as follows:

Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353
TTY: (651) 297-7206
TTY: 1-800-366-4812

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