Identity Theft Reports Down 71% in Last Three Years

NSTPIdentity Theft, Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Identity Theft Reports Down 71% Three Years

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.