Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes inAmerica. A dishonest person who has your Social Security number can use it to get other personal information about you. Identity thieves can use your number and your good credit to apply for more credit in your name. Then, they use the credit cards and do not pay the bills. You may not find out that someone is using your number until you are turned down for credit or you begin to get calls from unknown creditors demanding payment for items you never bought. Someone illegally using your Social Security number and assuming your identity can cause a lot of problems.
When filing taxes, many tax preparers sometimes seek to maximize tax refunds by inflating earnings to qualify taxpayers for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or to allow for a tax refund by reporting self-employment. This results in more earnings being posted to your Social Security record than actually earned and is considered fraud. On the other hand, sometimes taxpayers underreport earnings to help someone avoid tax liability, which could result in an individual not being insured for any Social Security benefits possibly leaving their survivors unable to receive benefits on a deceased’s record.
Filing a phony tax return triggers a review of your case if you are receiving Social Security benefits. This could potentially disrupt your benefits. Allowing someone to carry you as a dependent on their tax return also could trigger a review of your case. The Social Security Administration has an obligation to report your fraudulent tax return to the IRS which could result in legal action against you.
Although receiving Social Security benefits, many individuals continue to work using someone else’s social security number so that earnings cannot be traced back to them. This is considered misuse of a Social Security number. If you are misusing a Social Security number and that person’s number you are using visits a Social Security office and is asked about his earnings, you will likely be caught. If your Social Security number has been misused by someone else, please report the misuse to your local Social Security office.
Don’t become a victim of identity theft, fraud, or misuse. Protect yourself by keeping your card and any other document that shows your Social Security number in a safe place. DO NOT routinely carry your card or other documents that display your number. Lastly, review your tax forms to ensure the earnings being reported are accurate.