Identity theft during tax season isn't just a serious impediment to the taxpayers who are getting scammed, but to the federal government as well. After all, the IRS still has to pay for these fraudulent refunds - as the crime isn't discovered until after the fact - and last year, this cost the agency over $3.6 billion. Taxpayers are becoming smarter about how to skirt around theft of identity and the IRS is arming itself with stricter measures to weed out theft as well. Unfortunately, the identity thieves themselves are becoming more adept too.
CNBC reports that investigators discovered and busted an international ID theft crime ring in San Diego last summer. Dozens of identity thieves - predominantly foreign nationals - were found to have stolen over 2,000 identities, using them to open bank accounts and rent apartments for the purpose of claiming $20 million in phony tax refunds.
This case is just the tip of the iceberg. Identity thieves are becoming increasingly more sophisticated in how they rip off unsuspecting taxpayers. Corey Thompson, a 29-year-old owner of a tax return business, admitted to not only stealing tax information from his customers but also using their IP addresses to make it seem as if the proper taxpayers were the ones doing the filing.
"We always encourage people to guard their personal information like they would any other valuable," Eva Velasquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, told the source. "We know that early detection is one of the ways to stop the thieves from doing a lot of damage."
Identity theft prevention measures, such as regular credit monitoring and consulting with a credit monitoring service, can go a long way in keeping your financial information away from peering eyes this tax season.
Beat ID thieves to your refund. #TAXRACE
Source: CNBC — http://www.cnbc.com/id/101380837