Identity thieves are using stolen social security numbers to file bogus tax returns and collect refunds on an even grander scale this year.
The IRS’s reluctance to issue PIN numbers until AFTER you are victimized has only encouraged thieves. The scary part is that you probably won’t find out that your identity and social security number have been used fraudulently until your legitimate tax return has been rejected by the IRS. You know what that means…you won’t get that money you were counting on for a long time.
ALARMING STATISTICS: • In 2012 the IRS resolved more than 500,000 identity theft cases. • There is a current backlog at the IRS of 300,000 fraudulent cases, with an average wait time of six months for a resolution. • The IRS does not recognize when fraud is occurring – A recent audit shows 590 refunds, totaling nearly $1 million, were sent to one bank account. • According to the Treasury Inspector General, the IRS is expected to pay out as much as $21 billion for fraudulent refunds over the next five years. Their current policy is PAY then CHASE. So they pay the thieves first and then go after them much later. Oftentimes, it is way too late. TIPS FOR TAX SEASON: • Select someone trustworthy to prepare your tax return and only file paper returns. • File taxes early in the tax season to reduce the window of time a thief could file using your SSN. • When/IF filing electronically, only submit forms through a secure internet connection. • When filing by mail, go to the post office directly to mail the envelope. • The IRS will never communicate with you via email or phone. Do not respond to any email message that looks like it is from the IRS. • Never give out your personal information over the phone to anyone claiming to be from the IRS. • Keep your computer’s spyware and firewall up to date. We hope your 2013 tax returns come out favorably for you. Stay vigilant! You should initiate contact with the IRS by going to their website and calling the phone numbers listed on their website. Do not take calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS. — keepmyID.org and IDExperts.