It’s tax season. The dreaded April 15 federal tax filing deadline is looming. You try to be diligent, and you file your tax return early, hoping to get an early refund. But when you try to e-file your return, it gets rejected because you have already submitted your tax return and your refund has already been processed. But you didn’t file and you for sure never got your refund. What happened? You have become another one of the 700,000 Americans who have become the victim of tax fraud.

According to the IRS, “tax related identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security number to file a false tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.” Your tax account is most at risk if your wages and Social Security number were affected by a data breach.

With all of the phishing schemes, data breaches and cyber intrusions happening, tax fraud is only expected to rise.

What do you do?

Here are some tips:

  1. File a complaint with the FTC advising that you have become a victim of identity theft.
  1. Got to and review the materials posted on what to do and follow the instructions.
  1. Complete IRS Form 14039, which is an Affidavit that certifies that you are a victim of identity theft.
  1. Yes, you still have to file your real tax return, but you can do so in paper, and include the Affidavit when you send in your paper tax return to the IRS.
  1. Respond to any written correspondence from the IRS. Please note that the IRS never calls or contacts taxpayers over the telephone, so if you get a call purporting to be from the IRS, do not respond or give any information to the caller—it is just another fraudster with another scam.
  1. For special assistance, call 1-800-908-4490.

Happy tax season. May you e-file without any issues. And if you are getting one, enjoy that refund.