Watch Out for Identity Thieves Looking for Your Tax Refund

Published On: 12th February 2015

From the internet

It’s that time of year where identity thieves are on the lookout for vulnerable Minnesotans whose tax refunds they can take as their own. There are a number of ways in which they do this and it is very important that you are vigilant so you don’t become one of their next victims.

If you are not sure how prevalent identity theft is when it comes to tax returns, the damage that is done each year totals in the billions of dollars and the number of victims in Minnesota is rather high, as it is everywhere.

In one Twin City man’s case, he became the victim of quite a bit of fraud as a result of his identity being stolen. He fell victim to one of the biggest tax scams a person could be the victim of. Someone took his identity and claimed his tax refund before he had a chance to file it himself. He was not entirely sure how someone could have used his social security number.

This is something that has happened to a lot of people.

One U.S. Attorney said that this is something that is happening to a lot of people. In Minnesota alone, the fraud totals around $100 million. The tax returns that cause this damage are fake returns.

A Government Accountability Office report found that there was at least $5.2 billion in fraudulent tax refunds paid out for the 2013 tax season. This is money that went to identity thieves and shows just how big the problem is. While there are honest people that are audited or their refunds are delayed because they accidentally left out a form when filing their return, thieves managed to siphon over $5 billion from the IRS in a single year. This is because it’s open season during tax season for thieves that are cunning when it comes to stealing tax returns.

One IRS agent said that once an identity thief steals someone’s identity, the first thing they do is rush and file a tax return in the name of the person whose identity they stole. They do it so fast that the taxpayer doesn’t have a clue and they haven’t even had a chance to file their return on their own. This allows the thief to get away with the refund. When the actual taxpayer files a return, it then causes a great deal of issues for that person. All the thief needs is the social security number, date of birth, and even a child’s name. With this information, they have the data they need to file a fake return.

If you file your taxes after a fraudster has filed them, you get a message from the IRS that says the filing was rejected.

Who commits this crime?

Practically anyone can. Career criminals, college students, and even housewives have been arrested for filing fraudulent tax returns. This is an act that attracts all kinds. Many of them get caught by the IRS and they are faced with tax court litigation and criminal charges. They are made to pay the IRS back with everything they have.

During the last tax season, three million Americans fell victim to tax refund fraud due to identity theft.

 

Source: http://www.kare11.com/story/news/investigations/2015/02/02/identity-thieves-targeting-tax-refunds/22769445/