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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.    

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

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 show 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.

Steps you should take if you know or 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: 
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at: or call FTC's Identity Theft Hotline: 1-877-438-4338; TTY: 1-866-653-4261
  • Close any financial accounts opened without your permission. 

If you are unable to file your tax return because another person has already filed a return under your SSN, see the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft for additional steps to take.

For more information, visit the Identity Protection page.


Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 27-Jan-2016