Wherever we turn - national or local news, neighbor or co-worker - we hear about those who have been the target of state and federal tax fraud.
The number of fraudulent tax returns is on the rise as criminals use stolen names and Social Security Numbers to forge W-2 information on electronically filed tax returns. Most people do not realize that they have been a victim of identity theft until they try to file their tax return and discover that a criminal beat them to their refund.
The federal tax return fraud rate ranges between of 1% to 2%. States report an increase in fraudulent tax returns this year of 50% to 3,700%.
1. File a report with your local police and with the FTC.
2. Report fraud to IRS, Identity Protection Specialized Unit: 1-800-908-4490
3. File a theft claim with the FTC: Send a copy of your police report or an IRS ID Theft Affidavit Form, along with proof of your identity, to the IRS:
4. Put a fraud alert on your credit reports:
5. Order and monitor your credit report
Check out the FTC article on a comprehensive identity theft action document with step-by-step instructions on recovering from this crime.