The IRS and its partners in the Security Summit have succeeded in reducing reports of identity theft by 71% in the last three years. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of filed identity theft affidavits fell to 199,000 reports in 2018 from 677,000 in 2015, the IRS said in an April 8th news release, IR-2019-66. During that same period, the IRS protected a combined $24 billion in fraudulent refunds, with financial industry partnerships recovering an additional $1.4 billion. “At a time when many in the private sector continue to struggle with these issues, the tax community has made major progress working together to stop identity theft and refund fraud,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in the news release. NSTP members should note that the IRS has identified two areas of concern moving forward: data theft from tax professionals, and business identity theft. The theft of business identity information is used to file fraudulent business returns, where the requested refunds are significantly larger than fraudulent individual returns. According to the IRS news release, the number of businesses reporting they were victims of tax-related identity theft increased by 10% in 2018.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when a thief uses someone’s stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund. The victim may be unaware that this has happened until they e-file their return. Even before the victim files their return, the IRS may send the taxpayer a letter saying the agency identified a suspicious return using the stolen SSN. Here are some things people should know about identity theft, including warning signs and steps to take after identity theft occurs. Warning signs that a theft occurs Taxpayers should be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if they are contacted by the IRS or their tax preparer about: More than one tax return being filed using the taxpayer’s SSN. Additional tax owed. A refund offset. Collection actions taken against the taxpayer for a year when they did not file a tax return. IRS records indicating they received wages or other income from an employer for whom the taxpayer did not work. Taxpayers who suspect they are a victim of ID theft should continue to pay their taxes and file their tax return, even if they must do so on paper. Steps to take if someone becomes a … Read More
The IRS now will now allow consumers to electronically report identity theft through the Federal Trade Commission’s IdentityTheft.gov website. Under the new FTC-IRS initiative, IdentityTheft.gov is the first and the only place where consumers can submit an IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, electronically. This new e-effort should make it easier for consumers to report tax-related identity theft and to receive help in recovering. Previously, to report a stolen identity that could be used to file a fake tax return and claim a fraudulent refund, a victim had to file a paper Form 14039. The IRS does offer a fillable version on the IRS website, that taxpayers can complete online, print and then mail to the tax agency. Unfortunately, however, while potential tax identity theft victims are filing paper forms by mail, the crooks are already/still online doing their damage electronically. Now, however, the IRS-FTC partnership means that identity theft victims can fight back on the same e-field to report identity theft. e-Reporting advantages: Once the Form 14039 is submitted electronically on the FTC site, that federal agency then will electronically transfer the identity theft form, but not the taxpayer’s return which is affected, to the IRS. Here’s how it works: IdentityTheft.gov will ask … Read More
Small business identity theft is a big business. Just like individuals, businesses can be victims too. Thieves use a business’s information to file fake tax returns or get credit cards. Identity thieves are more sophisticated than they used to be. They know the tax code and filing practices and how to get valuable data. The IRS has seen a sharp increase in fraudulent business tax forms. These include Forms 1120, 1120S and 1041, as well as Schedule K-1. These affect business, partnership, estate and trust filers. Signs of Identity Theft Business filers should be alert for signs of identity theft. They should contact the IRS if they experience any of these issues: The IRS rejects an e-filed return saying it already has one with that identification number. The IRS rejects an extension to file request saying it already has a return with that identification number. The filer receives an unexpected tax transcript. The filer receives an IRS notice that doesn’t relate to anything they submitted. The filer doesn’t receive expected or routine mailings from the IRS. New Procedures to Protect Businesses in 2018 The IRS, state tax agencies and software providers have ways to detect suspicious returns. However, some new measures can help validate returns … Read More
The IRS, state tax agencies and private-sector industry leaders have detailed their continued progress against tax-related identity theft and prepared additional safeguards for the 2018 filing season to curb refund fraud. The latest IRS data continued to show significant improvements as fewer identity theft returns entered the tax system, fewer fraudulent refunds were issued and fewer taxpayers were reporting themselves as victims of identity theft. “We’ve made tremendous progress since the Security Summit partnership held its first session in 2015,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We’ve seen the number of identity theft-related tax returns fall by about two-thirds since 2015. This dramatic decline helped prevent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers from facing the challenges of dealing with identity theft issues. This reflects the unique collaboration between the tax industry, the states and the IRS. But we have much more work facing us. As we evolve, so do the cybercriminals here and abroad. We must constantly be on guard.” “The collaborative work of the Summit is helping states, industry and the IRS identify fraudulent schemes and tax returns earlier,” said Courtney M. Kay-Decker, director of the Iowa Department of Revenue and a representative of the Federation of Tax Administrators. “These efforts … Read More
Posted: September 14, 2017 by Malwarebytes Labs Last updated: September 15, 2017 Who here is scrambling around in the aftermath of the recent breach at Equifax to figure out if you’ve been compromised? Who here is wondering what to do about it if you are? If you’re one of the 143 million Americans whose data was accessed by cybercriminals, then you probably raised your hand. Even if you weren’t one of the 143 million, you might still want to take some precautions. You could instead be part of the millions of folks who’ve had their data stolen over the course of online history. Basically, if you have a social security number, have ever run a credit check, or have a pulse, you should listen up. Why? Two words: identity theft. What could happen? The Equifax breach gave criminals access to vital personal information, including names, social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and in some cases, driver’s license IDs and credit card numbers. And here’s just a slice of what those jerks can do with that data: Open financial accounts Apply for credit cards, mortgages, and other financial services Get medical care at your expense File for a tax refund in your name Get a job in your … Read More