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Tax Data Security, Fraud Prevention

tax data security

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@cbarbalis

At eFile.com, we work hard to protect taxpayer data privacy, tax data security, and to prevent identity theft and fraud. We would also encourage you to do your best to protect your own data both on your computer device and physical documents. If your digital identify (e.g. income information, credit card data, etc.) was unfortunately compromised without your knowledge, please review the following options below. This can be done through a third party application, such as an employer or merchant, or via tax scams or email phishing.

As of January 2021 every taxpayer can now get a Identity Protection PIN or IP-PIN with the IRS. You can enter that IP-PIN on your eFile.com tax return. When you eFile, the IP-PIN must match with the IP-PIN on file with the IRS. If it does not, the return will be rejected for your to correct the IP-PIN and re-eFile.

We recommend you prepare and e-file your taxes early. Once your return has been submitted to the IRS and/or state tax agency, it closes the door for anybody else to submit a tax return under the following scenarios.

A) Your SSN was Used to file or e-File a Tax Return

If you e-filed your tax return on eFile.com and the IRS rejected it because they already accepted a tax return with your SSN, here are four possible reasons:

  1. You already e-filed or filed your return on another website or elsewhere (prepared and filed your own on paper, at a tax office, etc.).
  2. Someone has filed a return on your behalf (i.e. if he or she claimed you as a dependent on their return).
  3. Someone has filed a return and entered your SSN by mistake.
  4. Someone deliberately e-filed a return with your SSN (i.e. fraud).

Depending on why your return was rejected, please review and take the appropriate step(s) below.

Step 1: Check the SSN on your tax return to see if it's entered correctly

You or any taxpayer could enter an incorrect SSN on a tax return. In that case, this wrong SSN could be the correct SSN of another taxpayer.

To check the SSN on your return on eFile.com, log into your eFile.com account, click "Name and Address" (in the upper left-hand corner of your account screen), and check the SSN entry box (alternatively, you can find your SSN by clicking on "My Account" in the upper left-hand corner and then clicking the link for the return you want to view; the SSN is on the first page of the return PDF).

If your SSN is entered correctly, then there is either an error in the IRS records, or someone filed a return with an incorrect SSN - a SSN that happens to be yours - or intentionally filed a fraudulent return with your SSN.

File Form 14039, Identify Theft Affidavit, if your e-Filed tax return got rejected due to a duplicate SSN. Keep in mind that an already filed return under your SSN can also be the result of an honest mistake by another taxpayer, not necessarily the result of intentional identity theft.

Sign into eFile.com and click on 'My Account'. From there, download your rejected 2020 Tax Return PDF file. Print and sign and include your forms, such as your W-2 or 1099, and mail your return to the IRS. Complete and print Form 14039 and follow the mailing instructions on the form - FileIT.

Step 2: Call the IRS to report the SSN error

You should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to report the error and ask them how to proceed. This number is available 24/7 and will help you proceed in handling the error. In addition, you may want to print and mail your return because it generally takes 15 days for the IRS to update their records.

Step 3: Contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit

If you believe that someone stole your SSN to file the return, you should call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 for assistance. See this page on identity theft for extensive information, including contact information for state identity theft. For further information, see this report on Identity Theft from the IRS.

Step 4: Check if your SSN is locked by the IRS

There may be various reasons for a locked SSN, but not necessary fraud. Normally, the taxpayer may have received this error if the SSN connects to a deceased taxpayer or if the taxpayer requested to have the SSN locked. If this is the case, you may have received IRS Letter CP01H. Follow the instructions on the form and resolve the problem by mailing the letter, a written request to unlock the account, a copy of proof of identify, and a copy of your tax return with original signature(s).

If your return was rejected for a locked SSN, you should call the IRS at at 1-800-829-1040 to report the issue and ask them how to proceed.

What if you Did Not e-File a Tax Return on eFile.com

If your information was fraudulently used on a tax return that was prepared and filed on our site (and you received an email from us informing you about this), then we take this very seriously. Please review our information below on what to do if you received an unexpected email from eFile.com.

If you have further questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact eFile.com support so we can help you.

 

B) Your Credit Card was Used to Pay for the Preparation of a Tax Return on eFile.com

If you did not use your credit or debit card to pay for the preparation of a tax return on eFile.com, we take this very seriously. Please contact eFile.com as soon as possible so we can help you stop the payment from going through or remove it from your bank records if it did go through.

When you contact eFile.com, please provide the following information so we can locate the fraudulent charge:

  • The last four digits of your credit or debit card
  • The name listed on the card

Once we locate the fraudulent charge, we will void it on our end. This means that the transaction has been canceled and the charge will not process.

However, the bank that issued the card has placed the requested fund on a hold; the hold will remain until it is removed by the card issuer. Therefore, you will need to contact the bank that issued your card so you can get the charge removed from your bank statement.

You may also need to cancel the card and request a new card from your bank.

See how eFile keeps user data secure.

 

C) Your Email Address was Used to Create an Account on eFile.com

We, eFile.com, are a private company and an IRS-authorized Electronic Return Originator (ERO). We have been offering a secure online platform for the preparation and electronic filing of tax returns for over 12 years. We respect your right to privacy and understand when someone uses your email address unexpectedly (either on purpose or by mistake), your identity may be compromised.

If you receive an email from us that you did not expect, please read on to learn about the email and what to do about it.

What happened?

When someone creates an account on eFile.com, the user is required to enter some personal information, such as a first and last name and an email address we can use to contact the user. Once this is done, the user receives three different types of automatic notification emails from us as the user completes a return on eFile.com. These emails are computer-generated using the information the user entered to create the account (email address and first name).

Below are details on each notification email:

1) A confirmation for creating an account on efile.com (with a "Welcome to efile.com" subject line):

Thanks for choosing to file your taxes with Efile.com.

To continue filing your taxes, click here to sign in.

Tips:

  • To get your fastest refund possible, choose free e-file with direct deposit.
  • Once your e-filed return is accepted, we recommend you download a copy of your return for your records. There is no additional charge. We’ll also keep a backup copy in case you need it later.
  • If you’d rather mail your return, you can print a copy to file at the end of the process. Just remember that it will take longer to receive any refund(s) you’re expecting.

Thanks again for choosing Efile.com. To access our Help Center or contact our service team, sign in here and click Help in the upper right corner of the screen.

For security, your sign-in information is not included in this email. Sign in with the username and the password you chose when you registered.

This is an automated email. Please do not respond. For assistance, please sign in to access our Help Center.

2) A "Confirmation: thanks for e-filing your tax return with us!" email thanking the user for efiling their return on efile.com.

3) A "Your Tax Return IRS/State Acknowledgement Status" email (sent within 24 to 48 hours after they efile their return). If the return is accepted, the user will not receive any more acknowledgement status emails. If the return is rejected, the user will keep receiving rejection acknowledgment status emails (usually once a day) until the user signs into the account, fixes the return, re-eFiles it, and the return is accepted.

If you received any of the emails described above, but you did not prepare and file a return on our site, then we take this very seriously.

Please be aware that an email from us is not an attempt to steal your identity or spam you in any way. It is an legitimate notification email sent to an eFile.com customer informing them about their tax return.

What you Should do

We strongly recommend that you follow these steps if you received an unexpected email from eFile.com:

Step 1: Log into the eFile.com account

Since you own the email address in the notification email you received, you can log into the account associated with that address and see if the information in that account matches yours.

You can log in to any eFile.com account here: Sign in to your eFile account.

To sign into an eFile.com account, you need the account's username and password. If you do not have the account's username and password, you can obtain them through the username and password retrieval page.

You Cannot Access the eFile.com Account

Alternatively (and with your permission), we can provide some information about the tax return in the eFile.com account associated with your email address (such as the street address, first and last name, and the last four digits of the SSN). Then, let us know whether or not any of the information we provide matches your personal information. To conduct this procedure with us, please contact efile.com support and provide details about the email.

Step 2: Review the information in the account

When you are logged into the eFile.com account, click on "Name and Address" on the left-hand side and review the information on that screen (first and last name, Social Security Number, mailing address, etc).

Alternatively, you can access this information on the PDF copy of the return eFile.com created. To access this copy, click on "My Account" on the upper left-hand side, then click the appropriate link under the "My Returns" heading.

Step 3: Contact the IRS and/or Your Email Provider (if necessary)

The next step you take after you review the information in the eFile.com account greatly depends on whether or not it matches any of your personal information. Read below to see how to handle information that does or does not match your own.

Account Info does not Match Yours

If the information in the account does not match yours, then the person who created the account did not file a fraudulent return with your information. He or she may have mistyped the email address when they created the account and it happened to be yours. However, you should still contact us because only your email address may be compromised. If the the tax return was accepted by the IRS, please contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 as soon as possible to report the fraudulent tax return.

Attention: Please be aware that if your information was used to file a fraudulent return on eFile.com, it does not mean that we committed the fraud: someone using our website did this.

If the return was rejected by the IRS, then the IRS will not have the fraudulently e-filed return in their systems. However, if you believe you are the victim of identity theft, you should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit phone number above for guidance.

If you are concerned that anyone can access the information in the account, we strongly encourage you to change any account information (email address, username, and password) so no one but you can access the account. You can do this on the "My Account" screen.

You may also need to contact your email provider to alert them that someone else has accessed and used your email address, and ask them how you can change your email address.

In addition, you may need to contact your email provider to alert them that someone else has accessed and used your email address to learn how to address and/or change this.

Step 4: Contact eFile.com to inform us about the email you received

If you have any questions or concerns about an email you received from us, but you did not expect, please contact efile.com support and provide details about the email. In addition, please let us know if you accessed the account and inform us if any of the information in the account matches yours OR if only the email address matches yours.

Once you do this, we will stop the automatic notification emails and unsubscribe you from our marketing emails. That way, you will longer receive any emails from us.

Was Your Identity Stolen or Do You Have the Wrong Email Address?

Unfortunately, we have no control over what information is entered to create eFile.com accounts and send automatic notification emails to customers. Unless you tell us you are not the person who created the eFile.com account and eFiled the return, we assume that you are the one who did this.

A good way to tell if your identity has been stolen or not is to check the first name listed in the email (i.e. Dear Mary). If you name is not "Mary," it's possible that "Mary" may have mistyped her email address and it happened to be yours. Otherwise, you could be a victim of identity theft. If you are not sure or if you are concerned about any information in an email you received from us, please contact efile.com so we can help you.

Can You Contact Your Customer to Inform Them About Their Filed Tax Return?

Unfortunately, if the person who created the account did not enter the correct contact information (email address and phone number), we will not be able to contact the customer.

Related Information on Tax Return Fraud & Identity Theft

How to report tax return fraud to IRS.

Phishing emails, tax scams.

Review the eFile privacy promise, see our user agreement, and learn how to verify your identity with the IRS.

1) TurboTax® is a registered trademark of Intuit, Inc. and H&R Block® is a registered trademark of HRB Innovations, Inc.

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