During tax filing season, there is a large increase in identity theft cases. If your social security number and other personal information are compromised (through mailbox theft, internet hacking, phone calls or many other creative ways thieves use), someone could file a false return under your name, claim a refund and disappear. Then when you file your return, the IRS will hold up your refund until you prove your identity, which can take several months.
Identity thieves may call, fax, text or e-mail you posing as an IRS representative asking for verification of certain information or directing you to an internet site that looks like the IRS’ site (the IRS site address begins with http://www.irs.gov/ ) The e-mail may look like it came from someone at “IRS.gov”. It may claim that your name came up in a fraud scheme and ask you to verify your information or it may say that you are due an additional refund but must go to their site to claim it. Do NOT click on the link or open any attachments.
These e-mails can be very creative and artistic and they may look like legitimate but keep this in mind: The IRS does not initiate communication with you in order to ask for your personal information – they already have it.
For more on this topic, visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection-Tips