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USA's IRS continues to battle fraulent identity cases

FCRO Subsection: 
Editorial Staff

The USA's Inland Revenue Service, the IRS, has reported "a steep drop" in identity fraud related cases in recent years but it is still a serious problem.

The scam sufficiently popular that it once more makes the "Dirty Dozen," an annual list of the most prolific tax-related frauds.

In this case, the IRS says, that the fraud "occurs when someone uses a [an illegal copy of a ]Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund."

The problem for the legitimate taxpayer is that his "record" shows the refund and is therefore tarnished.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig is quoted as saying "The IRS and the Security Summit partners in the states and the private sector have joined forces to improve our defences against tax-related identity [fraud], sharply reducing the number of victims. But we encourage taxpayers to continue to be on the lookout for identity [fraud] schemes, including email phishing attempts and other tax scams."

Advice from the IRS

The IRS and its partners remind taxpayers and tax professionals that they can do their part to help in this effort. Taxpayers and tax professionals should:

* Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure security software is turned on and can automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on the computer. Use strong passwords.

* Learn to recognise and avoid phishing emails and threatening phone calls and texts from criminals posing as legitimate organisations such as banks, credit card companies and government organisations, including the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails. Invest in good anti-spyware and anti-malware software protection.
* Protect personal data. Don't routinely carry a Social Security card and make sure tax records are secure. Treat personal information like cash; don't leave it lying around."



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