Filed for a Tax Extension? You’re Still at Risk of Fraud

If you are one of the millions of taxpayers who have filed for a tax extension in 2019, the October 15th deadline is just around the corner. Fraudsters may have attempted to steal your identity and tax information throughout the year using a number of IRS tax fraud scams, and filing for an extension leaves you vulnerable to tax fraud for an extended amount of time. Keep an eye out for signs you are a victim of tax identity theft and take the appropriate steps to protect your tax information. Continue reading

The Big Business of Tax Fraud

Thanks to a mixture of creative criminal activity and lax controls, tax season is one of the busiest, most lucrative times for identity thieves. As such, the IRS will be as busy fighting identity fraud as it will be processing tax returns. In 2012, the IRS admitted that it might not have merely paid out more than $5 billion in the previous year to identity thieves filing for bogus tax refunds, but it would also likely pay out an additional $20 billion in the next few years as tax fraud criminals continue to slip past their defenses.

Update 07/2015: The U.S. Internal Revenue Service paid an estimated $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds related to identify theft in 2014.

Those defenses were dramatically increased when the IRS hired 3,000 new agents whose only focus would be to weed out identity theft. Additionally, the IRS plans to offer additional training to help its 35,000 employees spot fake refund claims. Let’s hope their efforts work. Continue reading