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Employment-Related Identity Theft

If you have experienced one of the following, this may be an indication your Social Security number or other personal information may have been used by another person without your permission for employment purposes.    

  1. You received a letter 4491C from the Internal Revenue Service stating that you were the victim of employment related identity theft or
  2. You received a notice from the Internal Revenue Service stating that you received wages that you did not earn or
  3. You receive a Form W-2 or 1099 from an employer for whom you did not work or
  4. You receive your annual “Notice of Earnings” statement from the Social Security Administration and the income showing on the statement is more than you have earned or
  5. Your Social Security benefits have been adjusted/denied because of wages that you did not earn

What you should do:

  • Contact the IRS at the number or fax listed on the IRS letter or notice.
  • If you received a Form W-2 from an unknown employer or the wages reported by the Social Security Administration on your Social Security Statement shows more than you earned, please assemble the related information you have and contact the Social Security Administration. They will review your earnings with you to ensure the records are correct.  
  • You may review earnings posted to your record on your online Social Security Statement. Workers, age 18 and older, may create an account to review their statements.

Additional steps you should take if you suspect that you are the victim of employment related identity theft

  • File a report with your local police department. 
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies online or through their toll-free numbers: 

                        Equifax: 888-766-0008

                        Experian: 888-397-3742

                        Trans Union: 800-680-7289

  •  File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in one of the following three ways: 

                            FTC Identity Theft Clearinghouse
                            600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
                            Washington, DC  20580  

  • Contact any banks or other financial institutions to close any accounts that are unused, have been tampered with or opened without your permission. 
  • If you have information about the identity thief that impacted your personal information negatively, file an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IC3 gives victims of cyber-crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. IC3 sends every complaint to one or more law enforcement or regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the matter.

If you are unable to file your tax return because another person has already filed a return under your SSN

  • You are encouraged to contact the IRS at the Identity Theft Specialized Unit (IPSU), toll free at 1-800-908-4490, Monday - Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska and Hawaii follow Pacific time). The IPSU can take steps to further secure your compromised tax account.  Assistors in this unit are specially trained in identity theft issues. 
  • Complete Form 14039  or Form 14039SP (Española) to report the identity theft incident, and have an identity theft indicator placed on your account to allow IRS to take protective actions.  

The IPSU hours of Operation:  Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time)

For Additional Information


Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 09-Oct-2014