With tax season, comes tax fraud. Unfortunately, a nationwide plague of identity thefts are catching law-abiding taxpayers off guard. Rogues are hijacking personal information like social security numbers and bank information to divert refund checks away from their rightful recipients across the country and right here in Pelham.
“We are strengthening our processing systems to watch for identity theft and detect refund fraud before it occurs,” Internal Revenue Service Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller said. “And we continue to put more resources on helping people who are victims of identity theft and resolve these complex cases as quickly as possible.”
Last Tuesday, a Pelham woman told police she had fallen prey to refund fraud. According to police reports, when the Sixth St. woman attempted to electronically file her taxes, she discovered someone else had already used her social security number to submit a return.
The IRS advised the woman to notify police as well as the Social Security Administration and the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
The IRS recently detailed their efforts to crack down of the refund scheme and other identity theft crimes. Already more than 560 criminal identity theft investigations have been opened in fiscal year 2013, according to IRS spokesperson Dianne Besunder.
On its website IRS.gov, the Internal Revenue Service has assembled YouTube videos and important information about preventing identity theft and what to do if it happens to you.
When you file your tax return, if you believe you have been the victim of fraud, you can contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. You will be asked to complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039, and follow the instructions on the back of the form based on their situation.
Taxpayers looking for additional information can consult the special identity protection page on IRS.gov.