When it comes to identity theft, it is much easier to prevent it than to deal with the ramifications of it. Various agencies that focus on protecting identities and personal information recommend the following steps to protecting identity.
- Do not carry identification with your SSN on it.
- If someone asks for a SSN, always ask why because it is not always required.
- Keep personal and confidential information in a secure place.
- Protect personal computers, smartphones and other devices by using anti-virus software. There are many effective, safe and free anti-virus programs available to protect devices. Taxpayers should also always keep security applications and device operating systems updated, and always enable a computer’s firewall.
- Use strong passwords and never share your passwords.
- Check your free credit report annually at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Monitor wage earnings by examining your statement from the Social Security Administration.
- Never give personal information through email, social media, or text messaging. Unless you initiated the call, never give personal information over the phone.
- Take extra precautions when discarding personal or confidential information, including when discarding or selling computers, smartphones, and other devices containing such information.
What to Do if Victim of Tax-Related Identity Theft
If a taxpayer believes he or she is the victim of tax-related identity theft, that individual should contact the ADOR Identity Theft Call Center at (602) 716-6300, or toll-free at (844) 817-9691. A representative will discuss the taxpayer’s concerns and assist with clearing a tax record if necessary.
However, taxpayers must continue to file their taxes. They will need a physical paper tax return if a fraudulent return has been file using the victim’s SSN. The tax return must also include either a copy of a police report or a completed Identity Theft Affidavit (Arizona Form 439) or IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039). The ADOR Identity Theft Call Center representative will provide specific instructions on which form(s) to include and how to obtain them.
After submitting an identity theft packet to ADOR via mail, a representative will confirm the receipt of the packet with the taxpayer and ensure the information is complete. ADOR will then process the tax return and issue a tax refund if one is due.
How to Get a Copy of a Fraudulently Filed Tax Return
A victim of identity theft may request a redacted copy (one with some information blacked out) of a fraudulent Arizona individual income tax return filed using the identity theft victim’s name and SSN. To request a copy, taxpayers must complete Arizona Form 470 and mail it to:
Arizona Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 29216
Phoenix, AZ 85038-9216
Additional Steps to Take if Victim of Identity Theft
There are a number of resources available to assist victims of identity theft in the process of clearing their names and accounts.
To file a complaint, taxpayers can obtain forms for finding out what can be done to protect a decedent’s identity, or learn more about the Arizona Identity Theft Coalition by visiting the Arizona Attorney General ID Theft website.
Taxpayers can also contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on their credit records: