Buncombe County News

This news item expired on 4/1/2013, so the information below could be outdated or incorrect.
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Identity Thieves Are Targeting Your Tax Refund!


Identity thieves are using stolen social security numbers to file bogus tax returns and collect refunds. The scary part is that you probably won't find out that your Identity Theftidentity and social security number have been used fraudulently until your legitimate tax return has been rejected by the IRS.

ALARMING STATISTICS:

  • In 2012 the IRS resolved more than 500,000 identity theft cases.
  • There is a current backlog at the IRS of 300,000 fraudulent cases, with an average wait time of six months for a resolution.
  • The IRS does not recognize when fraud is occurring – A recent audit shows 590 refunds, totaling nearly $1 million, were sent to one bank account.
  • According to the Treasury Inspector General, the IRS is expected to pay out as much as $21 billion for fraudulent refunds over the next five years.

DURING TAX SEASON FOLLOW THESE SMART GUIDELINES:

  • Select someone trustworthy to prepare your tax return.
  • File taxes early in the tax season to reduce the window of time a thief could file using your SSN.
  • When filing electronically, only submit forms through a secure internet connection.
  • When filing by mail, go to the post office directly to mail the envelope.
  • The IRS will never communicate with you via email or phone. Do not respond to any email message that looks like it is from the IRS.
  • Never give out your personal information over the phone to anyone claiming to be from the IRS.
  • Keep your computer's spyware and firewall up to date.