What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when a person knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid or abet any unlawful activity (18 United States Code 1028 (a) (7)). It is one of the fastest growing segments of financial crime in America. The Better Business Bureau estimates that more than 9.3 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2004. Identity theft costs a staggering $48 billion a year to businesses and an additional $5 billion to consumers.
Effects of Identity Theft
Generally, identity thieves use someone’s personal data to steal his or her financial accounts and run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards. But it can affect your tax records as follows:
Undocumented workers or other individuals use your social security number to get a job. The employer then reports W-2 wages they earned under your social security number to us. When you file your return based on your real W-2 income, it appears that you failed to report all of your income on your return.
An identity thief may file a return using your social security number to receive a refund. If the thief already filed a return using your social security number, our records will show that you already filed, received your refund, and the return you just submitted is a second copy or duplicate.
If we send you a notice, or letter that leads you to believe someone may have used your social security number fraudulently, contact us immediately by phone or in writing as directed in the notice. Our representatives will work with you to help resolve the problem. For example, you should contact us if the notice shows one of the following:
- More than one tax return was filed under your name and social security number.
- Our records show that you received wages from an employer that you do not recognize.
Avoid Becoming an Identity Theft Victim:
Get a copy of your credit report. Under a new federal law, the credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus) must provide individuals with one free credit report each year. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call (877) 322-8228.
Be informed. Contact the agencies below for more information.
If You Become an Identity Theft Victim:
Fill out the Louisiana Identity Theft Affidavit, Form R-2000 and submit it to the Criminal Investigations Division as instructed on the form.
Get the Identity Theft Victim Checklist and follow the guidelines
Contact the major credit reporting agencies immediately.