IRS, Justice Crack Down on Refund Fraud, Identity Theft

Federal officials are cracking down on identity theft and tax refund fraud, rounding up 105 people in 23 states – in all, 69 indictments with 939 criminal charges.
The Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department announced today the results of the national sweep that includes 150 visits by auditors and investigators at check-cashing facilities to ensure these businesses are not knowingly or unknowingly facilitating identity theft or refund fraud.
The visits occurred in nine high-risk places identified by the IRS in and around Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington, D.C.
“This unprecedented effort against identity theft sends a strong, unmistakable message to anyone considering participating in a refund fraud scheme this tax season,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We are aggressively pursuing cases across the nation with the Justice Department, and people will be going to jail. This is part of a much wider effort underway at the IRS to help protect taxpayers.”
The IRS also is taking steps this tax season to prevent identity theft and detect refund fraud. These efforts include designing new identity theft screening filters that will improve the IRS’s ability to spot false returns before they are processed and before a refund is issued.
Another step involves placing identity theft indicators on taxpayer accounts to track and manage these incidents.
To help taxpayers, the IRS has created a new section on dedicated to identity theft, including YouTube videos, tips for taxpayers and other helpful content. It includes contact information for the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit and tips to protect against “phishing” schemes that can lead to identity theft.
Taxpayers looking for additional information can consult the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft or the IRS Identity Theft Protection page on the IRS website.

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