Identity Thieves Target Your Tax Return
One of the fastest-growing ways
identity thieves are stealing from you is by tax-identity theft. The National
Taxpayer Advocate, an IRS watchdog group, has seen a 650 percent rise in the
number of identity-theft cases since 2008. In fact, since last year, the IRS has
had to double the number of staff working on these types of cases to 3,000.
As recently reported by the Wall Street Journal:
“Tax-identity theft exploded to more than 1.1
million cases in 2011 from 51,700 in 2008. The Treasury Inspector General for
Tax Administration last summer reported discovering an additional 1.5 million
potentially fraudulent 2011 tax refunds totaling in excess of $5.2 billion.
“Fraudulent tax returns can come in the form of
tax-identity theft, refund fraud, or return-preparer fraud and are difficult to
prosecute. With e-filing, evidence of fraud is difficult to find. There are no
signed tax forms, envelopes or fingerprints, and e-filing promises quick
The same technical advances that are supposed to make tax
filing faster and easier also make it faster and easier for thieves to steal.
The crime is so easy to perpetrate that the thieves were teaching classes as
reported by the Tampa Tribune:
“The crooks even gave classes . . . renting out a
social club every week to teach groups of 50 to 100 people how to ‘make it rain’
money . . . Students learn how to use easily accessible Internet databases of
social security numbers of deceased people, as well as personal information
stolen by employees from business customer files. Castor said the criminals also
threw filing parties where people got together to file fraudulent tax returns
with incentives to get the returns filed by certain deadlines.
“The fraud is being done by virtually ‘anybody and
everybody that can get their hands on a computer.’
“Investigators say the thieves appropriated the
name of a popular tax filing program, dubbing the fraud ‘Turbo Tax.’”
In many cases, it has taken victims several years and countless personal
hours to get the fraud corrected. This does not take into account other
“spin-off” identity thefts perpetrated with the same stolen information.
Luckily for you, ALPA has teamed up with LifeLock Identity Theft to offer a
members-only discount on LifeLock’s award-winning protection programs to protect
you and your family against all forms of identity theft. For more information
and plan rates, visit
our website and click on the LifeLock link or go directly to
the Group Code: ALPA12.