In 2012 the IRS uncovered a mounting problem involving the thefts of innocent taxpayers’ refunds. According to the IRS, investigators found 898 identification theft cases in 2012. This is a number that has tripled in comparison to the previous years. The IRS has issued numerous media alerts and has hired an additional 3,000 employees to be on high alert for such thefts.
Here is how it works: Somehow the criminal gets access to a person’s social security number and then they file a fraudulent claim and receive the refund check. One couple found out when they went to file their tax return electronically and they were told by the IRS a claim had already been filed.
Certified public accounts across the country are on high alert for such cases. One CPA said in the last 10 to 15 years she has never had a case, but since electronic filing was introduced, she has witnessed a surge of these types of thefts. She has had a dozen or so cases in the last year alone.
The IRS is stepping up to the plate and is strengthening its screening process. The agency is said to have halted $20 billion fraudulent returns alone last year. The IRS urges people to always protect their social security number. Also, it is important to remember that the IRS will never contact anyone by social media or email.
If you feel that you have had an identity theft problem call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490 or go to http://www.irs.gov/uac/Indications-your-identity-may-have-been-stolen-and-how-to-report-it-t
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