Identity Fraud

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.

Click here to learn more about identity fraud within government programs in the United States.