How Does Tax Fraud Work?
Identity thieves can file fraudulent tax returns in your name and steal your tax refund. They may attempt identity theft through emails or phone calls that claim false problems with your return or tax documents.
Through Phishing Emails
Identity thieves send fraudulent emails claiming to be from U-M administrative units or the IRS asking people to update or validate information using fake U-M login pages, fake IRS pages and forms, fraudulent Google forms, and more. They ask for personal information such as birthdate, Social Security number, and more that they can use to impersonate you. Do not provide this information.
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
- 01/20/2017 Phishing Message. Tax fraud phish with fake U-M login page.
- 01/19/2017 Phishing Message. W2 and tax fraud phish with fake U-M login page.
See the most recent Phishing Alerts.
Through Phone Scams
People across the country have received phone calls from con artists claiming to be from the IRS. They often threaten tax-related legal action and demand immediate payment. They may ask for personal information. Do not provide information or money. Learn about phone scams.
The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
Prevent Tax Fraud
Two-factor for Weblogin has been turned on to protect your U-M accounts.
Two-factor for Weblogin adds extra security for Wolverine Access (including your W-2), U-M Google, and other U-M web sites and tools. Two-factor helps protect your account secure even if your password is compromised. Two-factor (Duo) for Weblogin is required of all faculty, staff, student employees, and sponsored affiliates as of January 23, 2019.
Participate in the Identity Protection (IP) PIN Program from the IRS
The Identity Protection (IP) PIN Program allows you to get a PIN that helps prevent others from using your Social Security number to file fraudulent tax returns in your name. Each January, the program becomes available on the IRS web site. Beginning with Jan. 2021, all filers can use the program to obtain a PIN and protect their taxes. The PIN is good for one year. See IRS expands Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program to taxpayers nationwide for details about the program.
See Get An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) starting in January to get an IP PIN.
If you file online, first secure your data, devices, and home network.
Secure your devices to safeguard your online identity and accounts. This means setting strong passwords, backing up your data, choosing appropriate privacy and access settings, only connecting to secure networks, and more.
File your taxes as soon as possible.
This prevents criminals from filing under your name, and will get you your tax refund (if you are eligible for one) faster.
Know your tax filing merchants.
Be suspicious of ads for tax filing services.
Be suspicious of ads for tax filing services that promise you large or expedited tax refunds. These ads are often scams to steal your personal information.
If You Get Caught by a Tax Scam
Report tax identity theft to the federal government.
To report tax identity theft to the federal government and get a recovery plan, visit the Federal Trade Commission's IdentityTheft.gov website. It allows you to file Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 14039 online when you report identity theft.
Or download a copy of IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039 (PDF) for filing. For additional information from the IRS, see Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance.
Alert the appropriate state tax organization.