The IRS, in conjunction with the Justice Department and other Federal, state, and local agencies, has intensified their efforts at preventing, detecting, and resolving identity theft and refund fraud.
The identity theft and refund fraud effort has involved 734 enforcement actions involving 389 individuals. The effort included 109 arrests, 189 indictments and complaints, and 47 search warrants.
In addition, the IRS began a special compliance effort that began on
January 28, 2013. IRS auditors and criminal investigators will visit 197 money service businesses to help make sure that these businesses are not assisting identity thieves or refund fraud when cashing checks. These compliance visits took place in 17 high-risk areas identified by the IRS which included: New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa, Miami, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, El Paso, Tucson, Birmingham, Detroit, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.
As part of this effort, the IRS has made a significant increase in the number and quality of identity theft filters in their processing system for the 2013 Filing Season. These filters are designed to spot fraudulent tax returns before the refund is issued.
Also, by late 2012, the IRS has more than doubled the number of IRS employees that are devoted to identity theft related issues. They have also trained 35,000 employees that work with taxpayers to recognize identity theft indicators and help people victimized by identity theft.
If you have been a victim of identity theft and have not contacted the IRS about this, you should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. Once you contact them, the IRS will ask you to complete Form 14039 (IRS Identity Theft Affidavit).
If you receive a notice from the IRS indicating that you might have been the victim of identity theft, you should follow the instructions on that notice.
For more information on what the IRS is doing to help prevent and combat identity theft and what a taxpayer should do if they might have been a victim, see the following:
- IRS News Report of February 7 (IR-2013-17 – IRS Intensifies National Crackdown on Identity Theft)
- IRS Fact Sheet 2013-4 (IRS Criminal Investigation Targets Identity Theft Refund Fraud)
- IRS Fact Sheet 2013-3 Tips for Taxpayers, Victims about Identity Theft and Tax Returns
- Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft page on the IRS website
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