tax identify theft awareness week

Tax identity thieves and IRS imposters are ready for tax season, whether you are or not. Join the FTC and its partners for Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week to find out how to protect yourself, and what to do if you or someone you know runs into problems.

What is tax identity theft? It happens when someone uses your Social Security number (SSN) to file a phony tax return and collect your refund. You may not find out it has happened until you try to file your real tax return and the IRS rejects it as a duplicate filing.

IRS imposters are scammers who pretend they’re calling from the IRS. They claim you owe taxes and demand that you pay right now, usually with a gift card or prepaid debit card. They threaten you’ll be arrested or face other bad consequences if you don’t pay. But it’s all a lie. If you send the money, it’s gone.

Join the FTC and its partners for free webinars and other events during Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Learn how to reduce your chance of tax identity theft, the red flag warning signs of IRS imposters, and what to do if fraud happens to you. All of the events will have information for everyone. Some also will highlight special resources for active duty service members, veterans, older adults and small businesses. Ask questions too.

To start fighting tax identity theft right away, remember:

  • Protect your SSN throughout the year. Don’t give it out unless there’s a good reason and you’re sure who you’re giving it to.
  • File your tax return as early in the tax season as you can.
  • Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
  • Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year for free at Make sure no one has opened a new account in your name.


*Each event is scheduled for an hour unless otherwise stated. Click the links to learn how to participate. Click here to learn how to join these free webinars.

Tuesday, February 4, 2 p.m. ET
Protecting Sensitive Business and Customer Information: Practical Data Security Practices for Your Business. Experts from the FTC and IRS discuss:

  • Protecting your business, customers, and employees against tax identity theft
  • Imposter scams that target small businesses
  • Practical cybersecurity practices, and
  • Responding to a data breach

Wednesday, February 5, 10 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET
AARP, the FTC and the U.S. Treasury Department hold two telephone Town Hall meetings, at 10 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET. Learn about tax identity theft, government impostor scams, recovering from fraud, and where to get help. Please join us at the meeting time that’s convenient for you.

Thursday, February 6, 2 p.m. ET
The FTC and the Identity Theft Resource Center co-host a 30-minute webinar on government imposter scams. We’ll talk about IRS, Social Security Administration, and U.S. Census Bureau imposters, red flag warnings, protecting yourself, and how to recover if fraud happens to you.

Thursday, February 6, 3 p.m. ET
Join experts from the FTC, the Identity Theft Resource Center, and others for an #IDTheftChat on Twitter. We’ll offer tips on protecting yourself from tax identity theft and government imposters. Join the conversation at #IDTheftChat.

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