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Guide to Employment-Related Identity Theft

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If you’ve 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.

What you should do:

  • If you received a CP01E Notice:

    • The notice is for informational purposes only and it doesn’t impact your tax account.
    • You may wish to take additional steps to protect your identity and personal information. (See section below, ‘Steps you should take if …’)
    • If you need additional information on the impact to your tax account you should contact the IRS at the number listed on the CP01E Notice.
  • If you received a CP2000 Notice listing wages you didn’t earn:
    • The notice is a notification of a pending assessment of additional tax, due to unreported income.
    • Don’t include the income on your tax return or file an amended return if the additional income identified on the ‘CP2000 Notice’ was not earned by you or your spouse (if filing jointly).
    • If the income identified is not yours, contact the IRS immediately at the telephone or fax number listed on the CP2000 notice.
  • If you received a CP2057 Notice and the questionable income is directly related to wages that were not earned by you:
    • The notice is for informational purposes only and doesn’t impact your tax account.
    • Don’t contact the IRS. However, you may wish to take additional steps to protect your identity and personal information.
  • If you received a Form W-2 or Form 1099 from an unknown employer:
    • Don’t include the income on your tax return or file an amended return.
    • Contact the Social Security Administration. They’ll review your earnings with you to ensure their records are correct.
    • Allow several weeks for the SSA to update their records.
    • You may wish to take additional steps to protect your identity and personal information. 
  • If you receive a notice from the SSA stating your Social Security benefits have been adjusted/denied because of wages you didn’t earn or;
    You receive a Social Security Benefits Statement from the SSA showing more income than you’ve earned:

Steps you should take if you know or suspect you're the victim of employment-related or other form of identity theft:

  • Place a free 90-day fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies online or through their toll-free numbers. The bureau you contact must tell the other two.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Full guidance is available at the FTC, 'What to do right away'.

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

For additional IRS-based information on identity theft, visit Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 17-Feb-2017