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Tax Identity Theft on the Rise this Tax Season

The IRS is warning taxpayers to be careful, as the number of identity theft cases continue to rise this tax season.
    The IRS is warning taxpayers to be careful, as the number of identity theft cases continue to rise this tax season.  According to officials, thieves are stealing personal information, filing taxes under the stolen names, and collecting the tax refund.
    For the 2011 calendar year, the IRS estimates $1.3 billion worth of checks would be sent out to the wrong owner. CPA's say now more than ever it's important to keeping track of where and how you are sharing your personal information. Over the last four years, the IRS has seen more than 400,000 tax payers affected by identity theft. And this year, Gene Naedu from Liberty Tax Service says the amount of fraud has hit its peak.
    "There have been several reports of and I have also seen it in various articles on the Internet where there have been issues with identity theft," said Naedu.
    Some experts believe the cause for the increase is a combination of continued economic distress across the nation and thieves using new technology to accomplish the same goal.
    "The IRS does not ever email anybody. So if you get an email from anybody that claims they are the IRS, they are not. Letters only and maybe a few phone calls," said Naedu.
    In January, the IRS announced the results of a massive, national sweep cracking down on suspected identity theft perpetrators . The nationwide effort targeted 105 people in 23 states. But Naedu says the IRS is also trying to help citizens be more pro-active in protecting their identity.
    "The IRS has been issuing pin numbers to use on the tax returns to verify who is filing the tax return with this name and social," said Naedu.
     Naedu says even with the new procedures, tax-payers still need to be wary about giving out personal information. And if you do come across a suspicious email or letter, alert the IRS immediately You can alert them immediately by emailing them at phishing@irs.gov
    And remember tax deadline this year is April 17th.
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