The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is ramping up efforts to thwart identity theft. As part of those efforts, IRS is reminding taxpayers who receive requests from the IRS to verify their identities using the Identity Verification Service website at

I know: this sounds like a scam.


But this is legit. Pay attention, though. You're not going to be asked to verify your identification via email. Ditto for phone calls. The IRS will not initiate contact with you to verify your identification via email or phone.

If IRS has a concern about a suspicious tax return with a real taxpayer's name and/or Social Security number, they will send you a letter. It's a specific letter: Letter 5071C (check the upper corner of the letter for the number). If you receive Letter 5071C, you should follow the directions and access If you do not receive a Letter 5071C, you do not need to access the site. On the IRS Identity Verification Service website, you'll be asked questions that only you can answer. This is similar to the system that some states are using to confirm refunds.

Once you verify your identity, you can confirm whether you filed the tax return IRS finds to be suspicious. If you did not file the return, IRS will help you with the next steps. If you did file the return, your return will be processed (it will take approximately six weeks) and you'll be issued a refund, if one is due.