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Know the signs of identity theft and taxes

Tax season is upon us, and with it comes opportunities for identity theft and fraud. Information Technology Services urges all students and employees to keep an eye out for the following signs of identity theft related to tax returns:

  • You receive a Form 1099-G for unemployment benefits but never actually received unemployment compensation. Identity thieves took advantage of COVID-19 to fraudulently file and receive unemployment benefits. If you receive an inaccurate 1099-G form stating you received unemployment benefits, immediately contact the West Virginia State Tax Department or the comparable agency in the state that issued the form.
  • Your e-file tax return is rejected because a return using the same Social Security number has already been filed. First, file a paper return if you are not able to e-file. Then submit a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit to the IRS reporting that someone used your Social Security number to submit a fraudulent tax return.
  • You get notification that an online tax account has been created in your name or accessed. Report this activity to the Federal Trade Commission by completing a report at Because this is tax-related fraud, the FTC will also ask you to complete a Form 14039 to report the issue to the IRS.
  • You receive a notice from the IRS about a suspicious tax return that you did not file. Sometimes, the IRS has reason to believe a fraudulent tax return was filed using your information. In such cases, they will send you a Letter 4883C asking you to verify your identity. Be sure to follow the instructions to verify your identity within 30 days.

Starting this year, the IRS is offering all taxpayers the ability to verify your identity using an Identity Protection PIN. ITS strongly encourages creation of a PIN to protect your Social Security number.

Remember, the IRS will NEVER initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media to request personal or financial information. The IRS also will not contact you with threats of lawsuits or arrest, or send emails or faxes requesting your Identity Protection PIN. If you are contacted by someone impersonating the IRS, submit an IRS Impersonation Scam Report. Suspicious online or email phishing scams can be reported to the IRS by sending an email to

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, please visit the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft and websites.

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