Identity Thieves Target Your Tax Return

One of the fastest-growing ways identity thieves are stealing from you is by tax-identity theft. The National Taxpayer Advocate, an IRS watchdog group, has seen a 650 percent rise in the number of identity-theft cases since 2008. In fact, since last year, the IRS has had to double the number of staff working on these types of cases to 3,000.

As recently reported by the Wall Street Journal:

“Tax-identity theft exploded to more than 1.1 million cases in 2011 from 51,700 in 2008. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration last summer reported discovering an additional 1.5 million potentially fraudulent 2011 tax refunds totaling in excess of $5.2 billion.

“Fraudulent tax returns can come in the form of tax-identity theft, refund fraud, or return-preparer fraud and are difficult to prosecute. With e-filing, evidence of fraud is difficult to find. There are no signed tax forms, envelopes or fingerprints, and e-filing promises quick refunds.”

The same technical advances that are supposed to make tax filing faster and easier also make it faster and easier for thieves to steal. The crime is so easy to perpetrate that the thieves were teaching classes as reported by the Tampa Tribune:

“The crooks even gave classes . . . renting out a social club every week to teach groups of 50 to 100 people how to ‘make it rain’ money . . . Students learn how to use easily accessible Internet databases of social security numbers of deceased people, as well as personal information stolen by employees from business customer files. Castor said the criminals also threw filing parties where people got together to file fraudulent tax returns with incentives to get the returns filed by certain deadlines.

“The fraud is being done by virtually ‘anybody and everybody that can get their hands on a computer.’

“Investigators say the thieves appropriated the name of a popular tax filing program, dubbing the fraud ‘Turbo Tax.’”

In many cases, it has taken victims several years and countless personal hours to get the fraud corrected. This does not take into account other “spin-off” identity thefts perpetrated with the same stolen information.

Luckily for you, ALPA has teamed up with LifeLock Identity Theft to offer a members-only discount on LifeLock’s award-winning protection programs to protect you and your family against all forms of identity theft. For more information and plan rates, visit our website and click on the LifeLock link or go directly to Use the Group Code: ALPA12.