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FTC-IRS Initiative provides online help for tax identity victims

Florida ranks as one of top tax identity targets in US

ORLANDO, Fla. – A joint initiative between the Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service will make it easier for consumers to report tax-related identity theft and to receive assistance to help recover from being hacked.

Nancy Hecht, a veteran certified financial planner in Longwood, said the site is a needed option, especially during tax season.

“This is a common tax-time problem, I would say, over the last five years, “ Hecht said. “I have not gone through one year where I haven’t gotten a call from a client saying, 'I followed up my (tax) return and now I’ve been hacked.'”

The IRS will now allow consumers to report identity theft to the IRS electronically through the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website.

Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim your refund. Victims of tax-related identity theft need to file an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, also known as IRS Form 14039, before the IRS can begin to resolve the problem. Until this new initiative, consumers could only file an IRS Form 14039 manually.

“Under the new FTC-IRS initiative, IdentityTheft.gov will be the first and the only place where consumers can submit an IRS Form 14039 electronically," an FTC press release reads.

FTC attorney Senna Gressin told News 6 the site is easy to use and, in most cases, consumers can have their identity repaired and recovered in roughly 120 days.

“Based on the information that the consumer provides, the website is going to provide a step-by-step
recovery plan and (guide) the person through the recovery plan,” she said.

IdentityTheft.gov allows consumers to report identity theft and to receive a personal recovery plan.

Consumers can also obtain an Identity Theft Report that can be used in place of a police report to help clear their credit reports of fraudulent information, and customized letters they can send to creditors, debt collectors and others to help recover from identity theft causes.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read their blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact for consumers:
Consumer Response Center
877-382-4357


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