Identity Theft Update

Most recent statistics indicate the IRS has seen a drop of identity theft cases reported in 2017 by individual taxpayers. While these latest statistics are encouraging, it is still important to be diligent with your personal information, especially while online. Identity theft remains on the top of the IRS list of the dirty dozen tax scams.

Reported Identity Theft Cases to the IRS*:
Jan – May 2017 107,000
Jan – May 2016 204,000
Jan – May 2015 297,000

Be familiar with red flags the IRS watches for to alert of potential identity theft such as:

  1. Tax returns without a PTIN (this is a paid preparer number issued by the IRS). All paid tax-preparers are required to have a PTIN. If your tax-preparer does not have a PTIN, you should not have them prepare your tax return and most importantly, do not give them your personal information!
  2. Tax returns prepared outside of a professional tax office. All tax offices that are registered with the IRS have an EFIN number which allows the tax office to electronically submit your tax return (E-File).

Do not respond to emails requesting personal information. The IRS and any legitimate business is not going to ask for personal information online or by email.

If you receive an email that appears to be from your tax-preparer, do not respond by email with personal information. Pick up the phone, call your tax professional, and ask questions about the information they are requesting. Don’t automatically assume the email is from your tax-preparer. It could have been sent to you by an identity-thief seeking to file a tax return using your information.

As always, if you suspect identity theft of your personal information, file Form 14039 with the IRS, notify your bank and the major credit bureaus. For more information, see

*Statistics provided through our partnership with Federal Direct Tax Services, Indianapolis IN.