Deborah Smith, MBA, LexisNexis Risk Solutions
Former Executive Director, Personal and Business Taxes, Ohio Department of Taxation
Tax season has arrived. In addition to collecting and organizing statements, charitable donations, medical expenses and other tax records, it is also important to protect yourself from becoming a victim of tax identity theft.
Tax identity theft occurs when someone files a false tax return using your name or other personal information to receive a tax refund. It can also occur when your Social Security Number is used to apply for a job or your child is claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
In a recent report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that more than 490,000 identity theft complaints were logged in 2015. Approximately 45 percent of those incidents were related to tax or wage fraud. While statistics show that the number of victims dealing with government identity fraud and specifically tax-related identity fraud remains high, multiple agencies are taking steps to provide taxpayers with the proper tools and resources to handle the situation if and when tax identity theft strikes.
During the week of January 30, the FTC is hosting Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week to spread the word about tax identity theft-related issues and how to address the crime. Since 2003, the Identity Theft Resource Center has been following up with victims of identity theft and fraud to understand what happens when this type of crime occurs. The good news is that there is an abundance of resources available from multiple agencies that can help prevent the crime and also assist victims with recovering from tax refund identity fraud, such as www.identitytheft.gov.
To learn more about how you can protect yourself from tax identity theft, follow our blog this week as we discuss a variety of topics related to this common fraud. By arming yourself with knowledge and resources, together we can make a difference in the fight against tax refund identity fraud and limit the number of future victims.