If you received a letter saying your tax return is under review by a state in which you did not work, don't ignore it. It's probably not a hoax, but a sign you've had your identity stolen.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said this summer that the letters signal an apparent "new trend in identity theft," reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The letters indicate that criminals may have submitted a tax return in your name in a state in which you do not live or work, the newspaper reported. In some cases, the returns were filed in an attempt to receive fraudulent tax returns.
Anyone in Wisconsin who receives such a letter should file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the newspaper reported. Residents of other states should file complaints with their appropriate bureaus or departments.
In addition, victims should:
—Contact the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to place a fraud alert on their accounts.
—Order free annual credit reports to check for unauthorized charges.
—File a report with their local police departments.
—For more on how to protect yourself from identity theft or next steps if you are a victim of tax identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission and the IRS websites.