IRS Agrees To Alert Taxpayers To Identity Theft Problems


A collection agency told Robert Guenterberg of Wisconsin last yar that two men in Illinois had stolen his identity. The men had landed jobs, bought property and had gotten loans using their own names and Guenterberg’s Social Security number, They also had run up debts that ruined Guenterberg’s credit, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The newspaper recounts how Guenterberg, 44, has been bounced around at least a dozen federal and state agencies and law enforcement departments in a desperate attempt to clean up his credit and reclaim his Social Security number.

Guenterberg says he’s gotten little help from law enforcement or the IRS. The IRS should have known for years that two other men have been using Guenterberg’s Social Security number. Until last week the IRS said that it could not contact individual taxpayers about tax-related issues because that could violate confidentiality laws. After questions from the Journal Sentinel, the IRS’ legal counsel decided last week that the agency could legally alert taxpayers if they might be a victim of identity theft, according to the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, which has been pushing the agency to notify taxpayers when they might be a victim.


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