IRS’ measures to prevent tax ID theft appears to be working, officials say

Jan 29, 2018

Update@4:55 p.m.:

The IRS begins accepting tax returns today, and while tax identity theft will be an ongoing issue this tax filing season, new measures from the IRS appear to be working. 

Tax ID theft occurs when criminals use your personal information to claim your refund before you get a chance to file. It peaked in 2014, when there were 766,000 victims identified, according to CBS News.

Related: Have a tax dispute with the IRS? These organizations can help

Many people don’t realize they are victims until they file their returns.

“I’ve had my identity stolen before,” said Chris Wilguess of Springboro, “I think thieves are going to find a way to get into your business and try to take advantage of loopholes.” 

However, over the last few years, the IRS has improved its computer filters to flag fake returns, and teamed up with tax preparers and state tax departments to improve security, said CPA Wes Campbell, owner of P&A Taxes in Centerville. 

Campbell said the amount of fraudulent files has dropped.

“Five or six years ago we started seeing a lot of them and it’s actually going down because the IRS is doing a better job protecting your identity,” said Campbell of P & A Taxes. 
Related: Alert: W-2 scams are back for 2018 — here’s what you need to know

The number of victims of tax ID theft dropped 46 percent last year, according to the IRS.

“If you are a victim- you still get your refund,” said Campbell, but your tax return will need to be filed through the mail and it could take several additional weeks to see your return. 

You will need to fill out an Identity Theft Affidavit, form 14039. You can also use this form to alert the IRS if you are the victim of identity theft, but aren’t sure if your tax return has been compromised. 

To fight tax ID theft, the FTC said you should: 

Remember, the IRS will not call you or email you out of the blue. 

The IRS has stepped up protections yet again to help prevent tax ID theft. 

This year all W-2 forms used to file for the first time will include a box for a verification code. 

In addition, The Ohio Department of Taxation is sending out identity theft confirmation quiz letters to make sure tax filers are who they say they are.

The FTC is hosting online events all week at www.ftc.gov/taxidentitytheft to educate consumers about the issue as part of this week’s Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. 

First report:

While tax identity theft will be an ongoing issue this tax filing season, new measures from the IRS appear to be working. 

Tax ID theft occurs when criminals use your personal information to claim your refund before you get a chance to file. It peaked in 2014, when there were 766,000 victims identified, according to CBS News.

The number of victims of tax ID theft dropped 46 percent last year, according to the IRS. 

Money Saving News & Advice from Team Clark Howard

During the last few years, the IRS has improved its computer filters to flag fake returns, and teamed up with tax preparers and state tax departments to improve security, according to CBS News. 

The IRS has stepped up protections yet again to help prevent tax ID theft. 

This year all W-2 forms used to file for the first time will include a box for a verification code. 

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In addition, The Ohio Department of Taxation is sending out Identity theft confirmation quiz letters to make sure tax filers are who they say they are.

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will talk to a local tax expert to find out what tax filers can do to further protect themselves from tax ID theft. Tune in today 5 p.m. to WHIO-TV for the full story.