Tax Commission News Release
Tax Commission warns of identity theft scams, advises what to do if you become a victim
BOISE, IDAHO — April 10, 2019 — The Idaho State Tax Commission reminds taxpayers to be vigilant about identity theft scams, especially as they prepare to file their taxes.
Public awareness has helped reduce tax fraud from identity theft, but new and even stealthier identity theft scams continue to affect taxpayers. Tax fraud from identity theft involves criminals using stolen personal information from data breaches, phishing, and malware to get a false refund.
You may be a victim of identity theft if:
- Your attempt to e-file your tax return is rejected
- You receive a letter about a tax return you haven’t filed yet
- Someone calls or emails you pretending to be from the IRS or Tax Commission
- Your employer or a vendor informs you that your personal information was part of a data breach
Some common identity theft scams include:
- Criminals impersonate tax officials or other officials over the phone. They may seek personal information, demand immediate payment or threaten arrest, criminal prosecution, account seizure, deportation or the filing of a lien against your property. They might ask for payment via credit or debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or money wire.
“Phishing” or “spoofing” emails:
- Individuals: These emails look official but actually are fake emails that often have links to fake websites designed to steal personal information. Criminals pose as your bank, your credit card company, your tax software provider, your company executives – and even the IRS.
- Organizations: Some cybercriminals use spoofing emails that look like internal emails sent from an organization executive requesting copies of some or all employee W-2s. The criminals use the information to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds. If you come across this type of email in your workplace, connect with the requester by phone or face-to-face to confirm if the request is legitimate.
- The mail looks like it came from a tax agency, the state or the IRS. It threatens you with liens, property seizures or arrest unless you act right away.
Suspect preparer scams:
- Be vigilant when you look for a preparer. Fraudulent tax preparers often target the elderly, students, and minorities. Make sure that you:
- Double check everything on your tax return before you sign it.
- Receive a copy of your federal and your state returns. You generally should keep those copies for at least three years.
- Ask questions if a preparer includes a Schedule C for a nonexistent business or includes expenses you don’t have receipts for.
- Ask how much the preparer is charging you. Get a copy of the invoice.
“Taxpayers need to be alert at all times,” Tax Commission Chairman Ken Roberts said. “If you find that someone has used your personal information, please call the Tax Commission. We’ll help clear up your tax issues so you can get your refund. We’ll also get you started on the next steps.”
Here’s what to do if you discover that you’re an identity theft victim:
- Visit the Tax Commission’s “Identity Theft” webpage, tax.idaho.gov/idtheft. Then call the Tax Commission so its employees can help you protect yourself from further harm. Also notify the IRS.
- File a police report with your local law enforcement.
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at identitytheft.gov, and get a recovery plan.
- Check your credit through annualcreditreport.com, and request a fraud alert on your account.
- Keep monitoring your personal accounts (bank, credit, etc.), and stay alert for attempts to use your identity. Victims are more likely to be targeted again.
To report suspected tax fraud from identity theft, call the Tax Commission at (208) 334-7660 in the Boise area or toll free at (800) 972-7660.
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