My 25 year old daughter recently sent me a notice that she received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) stating that her social security number, fingerprints and other personal information were included in a “malicious cyber intrusion,” which resulted in the theft of background information records. Needless to say, she was a little “freaked out,” and so was I. She is a young adult and we have had several chats about being careful using social media and protecting her personal information.
The IRS as well as the OPM have breach procedures in place and notify individuals when there is a risk of identity theft or other adverse effects from data breaches. They are also required to follow federal authority to disclose such occurrences.
That being said, you are probably aware of your own risk of identity theft and maybe have taken some precautions to guard your own personal and financial data, but what about your minor children? Identity theft on a child can go on for years undiscovered. Experts say children represent an emerging market for identity theft thieves who steal their social security numbers knowing that these numbers may not be used for years. Most victims do not even know about it until they are young adults and find their credit rating compromised, or are rejected for student loans, jobs or from renting a place to live.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon conducted a study on child identity theft and found that 10% of children are victims as compared with less than 1% of adults. They analyzed more than 800,000 records. The loud and clear message imparted at a recent identity theft conference sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is that this fraud has a systemic financial impact and we have an ethical, moral and legal duty to help our children have a future that they can create for themselves.
Any taxpayer who believes they are at risk of identity theft due to lost or stolen personal information should contact the IRS immediately so the agency can take action to secure their tax account. The taxpayer should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 Ext. 245. The taxpayer will be asked to complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039, and follow the instructions on the back of the form based on their situation
The IRS has issued guidance for actual or potential identity theft, phone scam and phishing victims.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter further, please contact a member of Withum’s Private Client Services Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhea Harris, CPA | email@example.com
To ensure compliance with U.S. Treasury rules, unless expressly stated otherwise, any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.