IRS focuses on rising cases of fraud through e-filing

Thieves steal information and use it to file fraudulent tax returns in another person's name. A congressional oversight board reported rising concern for the IRS about fraud through e-filing.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Tax season is right around the corner and many Americans like to do the process online. But you may want to exercise caution if you’ll be E-filing.

A congressional report by an IRS oversight board, released this month, found: “The IRS faces a major challenge in preventing thieves from using the E-file system to commit refund fraud on a large scale, including schemes based on ID theft. The IRS also faces the challenge of providing responsive assistance to taxpayers who have been victims of tax-related ID theft.

Thieves file claims online using another person’s stolen information. The confusion can lead to delays for the real taxpayer’s refund or enforcement action while the mess is straightened out.

Robert Gates, a local pastor, has E-filed for 15 years. Now he knows it’s best to file early and be alert for notices of duplicate returns.

“It's kind of scary, but I guess when you have millions of people filing taxes, inevitably, there is going to be somebody that figures out a way to take advantage of that,” Gates said.

The IRS established a PIN system for potential victims. The number of people in the program more than doubled this year, beyond 600,000. The agency now has more than 3,000 employees dedicated to working on ID theft issues.

If you think you’re at risk of ID theft because of a lost purse or issues with a credit card, you can call the IRS Identity Protection Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
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