What Is It ?
Social Security number misuse is a common form of identity theft. The IRS is seeing a big jump in thieves stealing Social Security numbers to fraudulently claim tax refunds. Thieves use stolen Social Security numbers to file tax returns early in the filing season so they can claim refunds before legitimate taxpayers file their returns. The IRS has flagged 14.6 million suspicious tax returns since 2011, blocking more than $50 billion in fraudulent refunds.
How Families Are Affected.
- Approximately 3% of these victims reported that the identity theft caused significant problems with their job or schoolwork, or trouble with a supervisor, coworkers, or peers. Additionally, about 6% of victims attributed significant problems with family members or friends to the identity theft victimization, including getting into more arguments or fights, not feeling that they could trust family or friends as much, or not feeling as close to family or friends as before the theft.
- The impact of identity theft on the victim's work, school, and family relationships, as well as the level of distress, varied by the type of identity theft. A greater percentage of victims who experienced personal information fraud reported a direct negative impact on work or school (11%) and family relationships (13%), compared with victims who experienced the unauthorized use of a credit card (2% or less). Additionally, 30% of victims of personal information fraud reported the incident as severely distressing, compared with 11% of victims of credit card fraud.