Identity Theft: One of the Fastest Growing Crimes Nationwide

Today's tax blog is a reminder that the IRS will never contact you over the phone. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide. The IRS provides tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim of Identity Theft – visit their website at www.irs.gov and search "identity theft".

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's Office of Investigation (OI) has been "tackling a sharp rise in threats to the federal system of tax administration," according to a recent report. (TIGTA Semiannual Report to Congress, Oct. 1, 2013-March 31, 2014) The report placed special emphasis on "a steep rise" in scams involving identity theft and phone fraud. It stressed that TIGTA had "received reports of tens of thousands of contacts and has become aware of thousands of victims who have collectively paid over $2 million as a result of a single scam, in which individuals fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials make unsolicited calls to taxpayers and demand money." The report also made special note of the OI's "continuing efforts to protect taxpayers from the few IRS employees who choose to violate the trust placed in them by taxpayers." For example, TIGTA's investigative efforts resulted in convictions against, or guilty pleas by, "corrupt" IRS employees who were involved in the conduct of criminal tax identity theft schemes in Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and California.

 

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