The filing of fraudulent tax returns resulting from identity theft is a growing business in America. If it wasn't bad enough that the criminals would try to get money out of your bank or use the information to purchase goods on your account, they now want your tax refund! Treasury tells us that for the 2011 filing season, there were approximately 109 million returns filed claiming refunds and that of those approximately 1.5 million were filed under a stolen identity. The total amount of claimed refunds under those identity theft returns is estimated at over $5.2 billion. While historically a problem with individual income tax returns, the incidence of stolen identity business and charity returns is also on the rise. In addition to simply feeling violated, affected taxpayers then have the joy of working with the IRS to correct the problem and having to spend many hours to eventually receive the refund to which they were entitled.
So, what can we all do to avoid the problem? Several ideas:
The IRS isn't going to send you an email. Do NOT answer any emails that say they're from the IRS. Trust me, the chances that the IRS will send you (and I don't care who you are) an email is somewhere between slim and non-existent. If you receive an email from the IRS and for some reason think it might be real (it isn't), then call the 800 number and follow up. The email is a scam looking for information...
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Topics: Fraud, Identity Theft, IRS, Scams, Tax Returns
Published In: Criminal Law Updates, Tax Updates
DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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