March 2013: Tips for Avoiding Tax Return Fraud
CORE ID Services

Tax Return Fraud - a "most serious problem"


Important steps you should take now to protect your tax refund


Last year, the IRS issued billions of dollars in tax refunds to identity thieves -- while victims fought six months or more to receive the money they were owed. The shocking rise in tax return fraud, the difficulties faced by victims both before and after they were able to receive their refund, and the staggering cost to the US Government led the National Taxpayer Advocate to call this a "most serious problem." For insight into the burdens the IRS currently puts on tax return fraud victims, check out the infographic in the sidebar to the right.

While your membership in ARX-ID will give you full assistance resolving tax return identity theft, there are important steps you should take now to help avoid becoming a victim. Read our article below for details on:
  • why you should file your return now
  • warning signs you are already a victim
  • why an email from the IRS puts you at high risk for fraud
  • how to choose a reputable tax preparer

Not sure if tax return theft is something you need to worry about? Our round-up of recent cases might change your mind. As always, education is the key to fighting identity theft. Stay informed, and stay safe. And if identity theft strikes, ARX-ID is there to help.

Daniel J. Benish
President
CORE ID Services, LLC
 

Your Guide to Avoiding Tax Return Fraud

43.4 % of identity theft cases involved tax or wage-related fraud last year, according to statistics compiled by the FTC. The National Taxpayer Advocate found this type of fraud placed a high burden on victims, with tax refunds being held six or more months, and full resolution sometimes taking years. Victims are also much more likely to be audited in years to come -- an attempt to detect future fraud that winds up treating the victim as the guilty party. These important steps can help you avoid the nightmare of tax return fraud.
  • File early. The sooner you get your return filed, the less likely an identity thief can beat you to your refund. If you have suffered the loss of a spouse or child, be sure to file those returns immediately as well.
     
  • Beware of emails from the IRS. They are "phishing" attempts to get you to provide personal information to identity thieves. The IRS never uses email to request taxpayer info. Report it by forwarding it to phishing@irs.gov.
     
  • Protect your Social Security Number. All tax return fraud requires your Social Security Number, so protect this information carefully. 
     
  • Ask your tax preparer for their PTIN. The IRS now requires all paid tax preparers to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. If yours does not, heed the red flag and find a reputable service.
     
  • Never sign a blank return. If your preparer asks you to do so, it is another red flag. Also know that you are responsible for whatever your preparer files - review your return and ask for a copy.  
     
  • Be alert for notices of unreported income. If an identity thief used your SSN to get a job, their employer will report those earnings under your name. If the IRS does not see those earnings on your return they will notify you of unreported income. Heed this warning sign of wage-related identity theft and contact ARX-ID immediately for help.
     
  • Monitor your risk for identity theft at  www.mycoreid.com. Haven't logged in yet? Do it today to get the full benefit of your ARX-ID membership. See your Welcome Kit for instructions or call 855-262-7612 for help.

In the News: Recent Tax Fraud Cases

March 2013 - Two Miami police officers are arrested for using data from the drivers' license database to commit tax return identity theft.
February 2013 - Georgia tax preparer sentenced to jail for identity theft, after admitting he used his position of trust as a paid tax preparer to commit fraud.
January 2013 - Prisoners rake in millions in tax return fraud schemes - a crime wave that continues to balloon due to its relative ease.
November 2012 - Patient data stolen from Florida hospital used to commit tax return fraud.



The IRS places a heavy burden on identity theft victims. ARX-ID can help.

Tax return theft victims face:

  • 6+ month delay in receiving their refund
  • A tangle of 21 different IRS branches that may handle their case
  • Potenial of years to fully resolve
  • Audits of future tax returns
ARX-ID helped David resolve his tax return identity theft problem

Success Story

David's tax return was stolen by identity thieves - read how ARX-ID helped him and other identity theft victims in our case study series. 


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