By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What’s the most common type of identity theft? Probably not what you think.

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The Federal Trade Commission just completed its survey of identity theft and found that the most common form of identity theft is tax identity theft.

Wait, you want to pay my taxes? Um. Ok. Yeah, no, tax identity theft is not what you think.

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It happens most commonly when someone gets a hold of your social security number and uses it early in the year to file a fake tax return in your name in order to get a refund. You may not even know it happened until you try to file your real tax return only to get a letter telling you that a return was already filed. But, be careful not to fall for another tax identity theft ploy – the IRS won’t email you or call you, if someone does either – telling you they need your information – that’s a scam. Don’t fall for it. The IRS will send you a letter with instructions.

Contact the IRS by using the number they list on the letter and fill out IRS Form 14039 (goody!…another IRS Form) Identity Theft Affidavit.

Then go to IdentityTheft.gov to fill out a complaint with the FTC, and notify the three credit reporting agencies.

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The best way to avoid the scam in the first place is to file your taxes as early as possible so scammers will be the ones shut out.