It’s nice to see that a tax scheme involving identity theft was thwarted. A recent article in the Miami Herald entitled Two South Florida Men Plead Guilty in IRS Tax-Refund Scheme reports that two men, Jean LaFrance, and Carlos Orozco used stolen social security records to submit false tax returns to the IRS over the past year. Both men were volunteers at the Pembroke Pines Social Security Office and had access to names, dates of birth and social security numbers of taxpayers. LaFrance also pleaded guilty to theft of public money and aggravated identity theft.
With tax season well underway, the IRS suggests that taxpayers become more diligent than ever about keeping themselves and their information safe. Below is helpful information that can help keep identity theft tax scams at bay:
Identity theft tops the IRS Dirty Dozen tax scam list due to the fact that more and more people file their tax returns online and the lack of controls over access to sensitive information. In a recent blog post, I discussed just how brazen identity theft fraudsters have become. Consider these three points so you can recognize and prevent any tax problem from occurring in the first place.
- Identity thieves are always looking for ways to use legitimate taxpayer identification and personal info to file a tax return to obtain a fraudulent refund. Don’t give them yours. Ever.
- Recent tax schemes show brazen fraudsters stealing social security numbers of dead people from sites such as ancestry.com then using it to file a tax return. Scam artists know they have a 50-50 chance of getting a refund because there are still a few million dead people on tax rolls the IRS believes are still alive.
- File Early! Usually, identity theft cases usually take place early in tax filing season so it’s important to beat them to the punch and file your tax return right away. If someone claims your refund first, you won’t be aware of it until you receive a letter from the IRS stating they already received yours.
Identity theft is difficult for taxpayers to detect after being victimized. Many aren’t aware until the IRS letter arrives and informing them of the two returns. While the IRS is continuing to work on beefing up its prevention and screening process, they are facing an uphill battle as there has been a marked increase in identity theft crimes involving more complex schemes. Prevention is the best plan of attack and to avoid any IRS issues, and taxpayers can do this by filing early.
The IRS advises that anyone who believes their personal information was stolen and used for tax purposes, should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit immediately. They also recommend visiting the special identity theft page at www.IRS.gov/identitytheft.
More Tax Help, IRS News and Tax Relief Tips:
- IRS Warns of “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams
- Avoid Tax Scams: Inflated Income and Expenses
- No Free IRS Money-Avoid Tax Scams
- Tax Fraud Enforcement-IRS Suggests Local Police
- IRS Tax Scam Warning-Claiming Zero Wages
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