What is identity fraud?
Identity fraud occurs when criminals use stolen personal identity information or synthetic identities – identities comprised of false identity information – to misrepresent themselves in order to receive a service or benefit.
Why is this of interest to government agencies?
Over the last 10 years, government programs have become highly vulnerable to this type of fraud. For instance, a recent report by the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the watchdog organization within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), found that identity theft-related tax refund fraud has increased 650% since 2008 – including a 60% increase from FY2011 to FY2012. Similarly, unemployment insurance fraud cost taxpayers an estimated $3.3 billion. And, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has designated Medicaid and Medicare as high risk programs because they are particularly vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse, and improper payments.