Skip to main content

Identity Theft

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity Theft is the use of another individual’s identity as a method to gain a financial advantage and perhaps to the other person’s disadvantage or loss. Approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities stolen and fraudulently used each year totaling $50 billion in financial losses.  Personally identifiable information (PII) is obtained from phishing scams, hacks of corporate/government databases, hijacking several computers without a trace and common theft of wallets/mail to steal identities. When identity theft occurs, it may take a lot of time, money and effort to recover and replenish your identity.

Becoming aware of specific types of identity theft will assist in the prevention process and maintaining your security and ultimately your identity. Below you will find various types of identity theft which can occur when you least expect it.

Further Information

  • Warning Signs of Identity Theft

    • The IRS or the State of Michigan notifies you that more than one tax return was filed using your name and/or Social Security number or that of a spouse or dependent(s).
    • You have been notified of income or government assistance that you did not receive.
    • You have a tax balance due, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a tax year you did not file a return.
    • You receive an unexpected or incorrect 1099-G from Treasury.
    • You see withdrawals or deposits in your bank account that you cannot explain.
    • You unexpectedly do not receive your bills or other mail.
    • Merchants refuse your checks.
    • Debt collectors call you about debts that are not yours.
    • You find discrepancies and unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
    • You get notices that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
    • You receive statements from your medical insurance provider for services you never received.
    • Your credit card is declined or you receive a new credit card in the mail you did not request.
  • Uncovering Tax-Related Identity Theft

    The IRS uses your Social Security number (SSN) to make sure your filing is accurate and complete, and that you get any refund you are due. Identity theft can affect how your tax return is processed. An unexpected notice or letter from the IRS could alert you that someone else is using your SSN, however, the IRS does not initiate contact with a taxpayer by sending an email, text or social media message that asks for personal of financial information. If you get an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it to

    If someone uses your SSN to file for a tax refund before you do, the IRS might think you already filed and got your refund. When you file your return later, IRS records will show the first filing and refund, and you will get a notice or letter from the IRS saying more than one return was filed for you.

  • How to Report if You Become a Victim

    If your Social Security number (SSN) is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, it is recommended that you follow these steps:

    • Respond immediately to any IRS or any other state notice; call the number provided.
    • Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if your e-filed return is rejected because of a duplicate filing under your Social Security number (SSN) or you are instructed to do so. Attach the form to your return and mail according to instructions.
    • If you are a resident of the state of Michigan or believe identity theft has occurred in Michigan, please call (517) 636-4486.
    • Please forward all required documentation to the Identity Theft Unit, Income Tax Division, P.O. Box 30477, Lansing, MI  48909.

    Follow these additional steps if you are a victim of identity theft:

    • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at
    • The FTC also contains sample letters to help you resolve issues with the credit bureaus, credit card issuers, and other companies with which you may do business.
    • Contact one of three major credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” on your credit records:
    • Contact your financial institutions, and close any financial or credit accounts opened without your permission or tampered with by identity thieves.