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Stolen identity refund fraud could land taxpayers in tough spot

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2021 | IRS

Though many Georgia residents hope to have their taxes taken care of as easily as possible, the only people they want filing on their behalf is a tax professional. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous parties could commit identity theft and file someone else’s tax return in hopes of gaining that person’s tax refund through fraudulent means.

Stolen identity refund fraud is one type of tax fraud that could affect you or other taxpayers. As the name suggests, the thieves gain personal identifying information from an unsuspecting party and then use that information to fraudulently file a tax return. Often, these actions result in an undeserving person receiving someone else’s refund, and it is not uncommon for the true taxpayer to face numerous complications.

How do thieves get the information?

These days, it is all too easy for identity thieves to access personal information. You have likely received many spam phone calls in what are obvious attempts to gain your information, but sometimes, scammers can make it difficult to immediately know whether they are legitimate or not, especially when they prey on the vulnerable or uninformed. Some ways that scammers could attempt to gain your and others’ personal information include:

  • Sending emails that appear to come from a tax agent or agency requesting your personal information
  • Impersonating a bank or tax official and requesting your Social Security number or other details over the phone
  • Hacking into businesses, agencies or other entities where you have done business and accessing your personal details through their data systems

Unfortunately, some of these potential theft opportunities may be outside of your control. After all, you have no say in how well a company protects your personal data after you do business with them, and many hackers and scammers have become adept at deceiving others and appearing legitimate.

What can you do?

If you believe you have been the victim of stolen identity refund fraud or other tax-related identity theft, you will undoubtedly want to address the matter as quickly as possible. Contacting the IRS and filling out the proper paperwork to report the problem is a crucial place to start. It may also be worthwhile for you to look into your legal options for addressing the matter as tax-related fraud could land you in a difficult position, even as the victim.

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