Tags: identity | thieves | tax | filing

Beware Identity Thieves When Filing Your Taxes

Monday, 24 Feb 2014 06:49 AM

By Michael Kling

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As tax return season gets underway, it's become open season for identity thieves and IRS impersonators as they take aim at unsuspecting taxpayers.

In an increasingly common scam, criminals use stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns in the victim's name.

The scam offers identity thieves an enticing advantage, according to Fraud.org, a project of the nonprofit National Consumers League. If they file the fake returns early, the tax filer may not even notice the crime until months later when the IRS rejects the real tax return, saying it was already processed.

Editor's Note:
Secret Wall Street Calendar Uses Strange ‘Crash Alert System,’ Gets 18.79% Annual Returns

If you suspect you're a victim of tax identity theft, Fraud.org recommends calling the IRS's identity protection unit, ordering free credit reports through annualcreditreport.com, filing an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a report with your local police department.

In addition, put a fraud alert on your credit reports so if anyone tries to obtain credit in your name, the business offering credit will have to contact you for verification.

In another scam, criminals call people, claiming to be from the IRS. They say the taxpayer will face fines, lawsuit or jail if they don't pay back taxes. They then tell potential victims where to wire the money.

Tax identity theft grew from 15 percent of all identity theft complaints to the FTC in 2010 to 24 percent in 2011. In 2012, they made up more than 43 percent of identity theft complaints, making it the largest category of identity theft complaints by a substantial margin, according to the FTC.

The FTC attempted to combat the trend with "town hall" meetings across the country as well as webinars and Twitter chats during its Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week Jan. 13 to 17.

"As consumers begin making preparations to file their taxes, now is the right time for them to learn more about this important issue," stated Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Editor's Note: Secret Wall Street Calendar Uses Strange ‘Crash Alert System,’ Gets 18.79% Annual Returns

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