Identity theft can be committed through e-mail (phishing) or other means, such as regular mail, fax or telephone, or even by going through someone's trash.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number or other identifying information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Typically, identity thieves use someone’s personal data to empty the victim’s financial accounts, run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim’s name, file fraudulent tax returns or even commit crimes. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years — and their hard-earned money — cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, be refused loans, education, housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit.
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To Report Fraud
For other than phishing schemes, you may report the fraudulent misuse of the IRS name, logo, forms or other IRS property by calling the TIGTA toll-free hotline at 1-800-366-4484 or visiting the TIGTA Web site.
Other Federal Resources
For more information on understanding and preventing identity theft and suspicious e-mails (phishing), or dealing with their aftermath, check out the following federal resources:
Department of the Treasury's identity theft resource page
Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) consumer Web site
FTC's OnGuardOnLine Web site
Social Security Administration (SSA)