January 14, 2014

Homeowners Beware of the Tax Identity Thief

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Whether you just bought a home or have owned one for a while, you’re probably looking forward to the mortgage interest deduction you claim when you file your annual income taxes.  But what happens when you go to file your return and you discover they’re already filed?

You may be a victim of refund fraud.   The Federal Trade Commission is designating January 13-17 as Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to claim YOUR refund or to secure a job.

Stopping refund fraud related to identity theft is a top priority for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They have trained more than 35,000 employees who work with taxpayers who can encounter identity theft involving their tax returns in several ways including helping to identify thieves filing fraudulent returns using another person’s stolen identity. Innocent taxpayers are victimized because their refunds are delayed.

If you think someone has used your Social Security number to get your refund, contact the IRS (1-800-908-4490) immediately and they will work with you to get your taxes filed and help protect your IRS account from tax identity thieves in the future.

Don’t let identity thieves keep you from reaping some of the tax benefits homeownership has to offer. To learn more about owning a home visit HUD’s website and to find out what you can do about identity theft and how you can help others visit the Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week website.

Shantae Goodloe is a Public Affairs Specialist in HUD’s Office of Public Affairs.

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