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Identify Theft and Tax Scams

What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security Number, and other identifying information, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft to commit tax refund fraud is a growing problem across the U.S., and the staff at the Department of Taxes is working hard to prevent this type of criminal activity in Vermont.

How is identity theft detected?
The Department of Taxes often discovers incidents of identity theft while reviewing tax returns for possible fraud. Tax refund fraud usually is detected when two people file tax returns for the same year using the same name and Social Security Number. While detecting tax fraud can be time-consuming, diligent monitoring by the department has prevented hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraudulent tax refunds from going out the door this year alone.

What to do if...
You suspect your identity has been stolen
Quick action is key to preventing fraud. If you suspect your identity has been stolen, alert the IRS and the Vermont Department of Taxes:
  1. Complete and submit IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) to the IRS
    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf

  2. Call the Vermont Department of Taxes to make a report (you may also submit a copy of IRS Identity Theft Affidavit to the department)
    (802) 828-2865 or toll-free in Vermont (866) 828-2865

You receive a letter from the IRS or Vermont Department of Taxes
If the IRS or Vermont Department of Taxes discovers that someone has already filed for a tax refund in your name, you will be notified by letter. Please respond immediately, following the instructions provided on the letter.

Reporting Tax Scams
Identity thieves and scam artists are always thinking of new ways to trick unsuspecting taxpayers. You should be on guard against email and phone scams, which are particularly common during tax season. For example, taxpayers have reported scams demanding immediate payment for taxes owed or requesting personal information.

The Vermont Department of Taxes issues notices, letters, and bills to taxpayers using the United States Postal Service only. The department also communicates with taxpayers through email and by telephone in response to a taxpayer inquiry or to obtain additional information or documentation needed to process a tax return. You should regard as suspicious any emails or phone calls claiming to be the Vermont Department of Taxes and be aware of the possibility of fraud. When department representatives contact taxpayers, they will not ask for Social Security Numbers. They may reference a recent tax return and will be very specific about what is needed to process the return. If in doubt, call the department to verify the communication you received is genuine.

If you suspect an email is fraudulent, do not respond and do not open attachments. Delete the email. Similarly, phone calls should be disconnected. Do not engage in conversation with the caller. If you wish to verify a communication or report a scam, call the Department of Taxes at
(802) 828-2865 or toll-free in Vermont (866) 828-2865

To learn more about identity theft and how to protect yourself, see the following resources:

Vermont Department of Taxes, 133 State Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05633-1401