Have you received an identity verification letter from the IRS?? While there are always a lot of scammers trying to impersonate the IRS, the IRS does send identity verification letters out to some taxpayers. Real identify verification contacts will always come by paper mail. are never sent by telephone or e-mail. A real identity verification request will identify itself as IRS letter 5071C. The only site a legitimate Letter 5071C will direct the taxpayer to is idverify.irs.gov. For more information, see the article on Forbes and the IRS page about letter 5071C.
When a taxpayer gets one of these letters, it means that the IRS has received a tax return their information on it and needs to verify the taxpayer’s identity before it finishes processing the return. Taxpayers need to respond to these identity verification letters promptly or their refunds will be delayed. Taxpayers should also never give out information that an identity thief could use to impersonate them, unless they are absolutely certain that they are talking to the IRS. When in doubt, call the number for telephone assistance for individuals, 1-800-829-1040, to verify that the contact did actually come from the IRS. To be doubly certain, they can verify that it is telephone assistance number listed on the IRS Telephone Assistance page.
This year (2015) in particular, there has been a definite increase in identity theft and tax return fraud. The increase in fraud has affected both federal and state returns. One major tax software company even had to suspend e-filing of state tax returns because it was being used to file so many fraudulent returns.
To read further about IRS identity verification and the IRS’s efforts to fight identity theft, visit their Identity Protection resource page.