I Think Someone Stole My Identity to File a Fake Tax Return!

prevent tax fraud


How to report identity theft to the IRS

Did you efile a tax return, but it was rejected by the IRS because a return with your Social Security number (SSN) was already accepted? Or did you receive an email from efile.com stating that you efiled a tax return (or that your return was accepted or rejected by the IRS), but you did not file this return? You may be a victim of identity theft and tax fraud.

However, this does not mean that we at efile.com committed the fraud: someone using our website did this. We are committed to helping our clients and other taxpayers protect their data and to promote awareness of identity theft practices.

In the following guide, we explain how identity thieves target individuals, what you can do to protect yourself from identity theft, and how to report identity theft to the IRS and/or state tax agencies. 

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is the fraudulent use of an individual's private identifying information to commit fraud for financial gain. Identity theft has seen a rise in recent years of 50% from 2005 to 2010, according to Department of Justice figures. Identity thieves seek ways to gather personal information from unsuspecting individuals to commit fraud while the victims are unaware of the acts. 

What Are the Warning Signs of Identity Theft?

You may be a victim of identity theft if you receive a notice or letter from the IRS that states one or more of the following: 

  • More than one tax return was filed using your SSN, 
  • You owe additional tax, have a refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return, and/or
  • IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer.

How are Identities Stolen?

Identity thieves use various methods to maliciously obtain personal information. One of the most common methods used to obtain electronic information is “phishing.” 

Phishing Attempts

Phishing is a technique used by identity thieves to gather private and personal information by sending false electronic communications from a seemingly legitimate source. This may take the form of e-mail communications or phone calls from a financial institution such as a bank or a government agency.

Financial institutions and government agencies, as a rule, do not ask you for personal information such as your social security number or password over e-mails and phone calls. For example, if the IRS wants additional information about a tax return you filed, they usually send you a letter in the mail, which includes information on how to contact them if you have questions about the notice. 

If a person responds to a phishing e-mail or provides personal information to a caller pretending to be the IRS, they may very well be sending would-be thieves the keys to commit fraud! 

Here's some more information on phishing and e-mail scams.

How Do I Protect Myself from Identity Theft?

There are a number of measures that individuals such as yourself can take to prevent your identity from being stolen or used fraudulently.

Preventing Phishing

  • Be aware of e-mails and/or phone calls asking for personal information from you (important: the IRS will never initially call you about a tax return; they will send you a notice in the mail first)
  • Examine e-mails to see where they are coming from
  • Never provide personal or confidential information to an unverified source
  • Contact the financial institution or agency to establish legitimacy of e-mail or phone call
  • Review bank and credit card statements for any unusual activity

Preventing Tax Fraud 

  • Follow steps above to prevent phishing
  • Carefully choose your efiling or filing partner
  • Audit and examine your own books for any irregularities
  • Be aware of irregular practices, such as keeping two books and the use of social security numbers belonging to the deceased
  • Monitor any communication you receive from the IRS or Tax Agencies

How Do I Report Identity Theft? 

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, you should contact the IRS and/or state tax agency by using the information in the next two sections below. However, if you received an email from efile.com informing you about your tax return status, but you did not file this return, refer to our guide on how to report efile.com account compromise.

Reporting Identity Theft to the IRS 

Follow these steps to report tax fraud to the IRS: 

  1. Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 for guidance.
  2. Complete Form 14039-Identity Theft Affidavit to prove that you're the real taxpayer (or on behalf of a deceased spouse or relative whose personal information was used to file a fraudulent tax return). If you're a victim if identity theft and the theft is affecting your tax records, check Box 1 in Section A. However, if you identity was compromised but it was not used on a fraudulent tax return, check Box 2 in Section A (you can also check this box if you had any personal belongings or Social Security cards stolen).
  3. Mail Form 14039 to this address: Internal Revenue Service, Stop C2003, Fresno, CA 93888.
  4. You may also need to file a police report and a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on their website if you're a victim of tax return fraud. 

Important: If you efiled your tax return and the IRS rejected it because your SSN was misused, you will need to paper file your return. Attach Form 14030 and other documentation to your paper return and mail it to the IRS address listed in Step 3.

Reporting Tax Fraud to Local State Agencies

Generally, each state has either a telephone hotline or an address where an individual can file one's report, if not both. To report income tax fraud, either call a tax hotline or contact the department of taxation via the specified address. Some states require you to fill out a form to mail.

StatePhone NumberAddressForm required(Y/N)
Alabama 1-800-535-9410

Alabama Department of Revenue
Investigations Division
1021 Madison Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36132


Alaska 1-877-GR8-TIPS N/A  
Arizona 602-542-4023 Criminal Investigations
PO Box 25248
Phoenix AZ 85002

Department of Finance and Administration
Office of Accounting - Internal Audit Section
1515 W 7th Street, Suite 215
Little Rock, AR 72201

(for state employees)

California 800-540-3453
(M-F 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. PST)
Franchise Tax Board
P.O. Box 1565
Rancho Cordova CA 95741
Colorado (303) 205-8262    
Connecticut     Y
Delaware (302) 577-8958 N/A  
District of Columbia (800) 380-3495 Government of the District of Columbia
Office of Tax and Revenue
Attn: Tax Fraud Hotline
1101 4th Street, SW, Suite 750W
Washington, DC 20024
Florida N/A N/A  
Georgia 404-417-4266    
Illinois 1 800 243-2811 (CHEAT 11) Illinois Department of Revenue
Bureau of Criminal Investigation
101 West Jefferson Street
PO Box 19014
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9014
Kentucky (502) 564-7118 Division of Special Investigations
Kentucky Department of Revenue
501 High Street, Station 18
Frankfort, KY 40601
Louisiana 1-866-940-7053    
Maine (207) 624-9600    
Massachusetts 1-800-792-5254    
Michigan 517-636-4157 Discovery and Tax Enforcement
Michigan Dept of Treasury
Attn: Fraud Unit
P.O. Box 30140
Lansing, MI 48909
Minnesota 651- 297-5195 or
Minnesota Department of Revenue
Criminal Investigation Division
Mail Station 6590
600 North Robert Street
St. Paul, MN 55146-6590
Mississippi   Criminal Investigation Division
P.O. Box 22828
Jackson, MS 39225-2828

(800) 742-7474 (toll free in NE & IA) or

(402) 471-5729.

301 Centennial Mall South
PO Box 94818
Lincoln, NE 68509-4818
Telephone (402) 471-5729

Nebraska State Office Building
1313 Farnam Street
Omaha, NE 68102-1871
Telephone (402) 595-2065

Nevada N/A N/A  
New Hampshire      
New Jersey      
New Mexico 1-866-457-6789 Tax Fraud Investigations Division
P.O. Box 8487
Albuquerque, NM  87198
Fax Number: (505) 841-5581
New York 518-457-0578 NYS Department of Taxation and Finance
Report Suspected Tax Evasion/Fraud
Information Referral Unit
Building 9 Room 480
W.A. Harriman Campus
Albany, N.Y. 12227
North Carolina 1-800-232-4939    
North Dakota      
Ohio (800) 757-6091    
Pennsylvania 717-783-4649 Department of Revenue
Bureau of Criminal Tax Investigations
5th Floor Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA  17128
Rhode Island      
South Carolina 803-898-5953 S C Department of Revenue
Attn:  Sheryl Wicker, CID
Market Pointe Service Center
300-B Outlet Pointe Blvd
P.O. Box 21587
Columbia, SC 29221
South Dakota N/A N/A  
Tennessee (800) FRAUDTX or
(800) 372-8389
Tennessee Department of Revenue
Special Investigations
301 Plus Park, Suite 110
Nashville, TN 37217-1036
Texas N/A N/A  
Washington N/A N/A  
West Virginia      
Wisconsin   Wisconsin Department of Revenue
Audit Bureau, Unit E
Mail Stop 5-144
P.O. Box 8906
Madison, WI 53708-8906
FAX: 608-267-0834
Wyoming N/A N/A  

Related Information on Tax Return Fraud & Identity Theft

Phishing emails, tax scams

Personal information, credit card fraudulently used on efile.com

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