Most people believe they are immune to identity theft and other types of fraud. They believe they are too smart, too educated, or to observant to become a victim. Think again!
A Florida man lost his job and decided to go back to school. Money was tight, he needed a loan. Unfortunately he was denied the loan. He was perplexed by this denial and contacted the IRS for a copy of his tax and wage transcript. Much to his surprise he discovered that someone had filed for approximately $14,000 in unemployment compensation in his name. The ID thief also tried to claim a blind spouse. This ID thief had used the Florida man's identity to successfully collect unemployment which had a negative effect on the Florida man's ability to obtain a student loan. Still think it won't happen to you?
ID thieves have discovered the city of gold with IRS tax return fraud. U.S. Treasury Department investigators estimate the IRS has paid out $5 BILLION or more to ID thieves who filed fradulent tax returns in 2011. That is right I said $5 BILLION or more of taxpayer money was handed over to ID thieves in 2011. The investigators also estimate there were 1.5 million undetected cases of thieves seeking refunds assuming the identity of a dead person, a child, or someone that does not normally file. One address in Lansing, Michigan was used to file 2,137 returns. More than $3.3 MILLION in refunds were sent to the address. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! The good news is that the IRS has claimed to have stopped almost $12 BILLION in confirmed fraud. The question I have is – how in the world were they not able to detect the remaining $5 BILLION lost to fraud? It appears the IRS uses algorithms to detect fraud and, like always, the criminals have discovered the weaknesses to exploit the system. Often times the fraud was missed to to it being below the fraud threshold based on some internal score used by the IRS. In eight out of eleven cases the income and withholding was NEVER verified!!!! It never ceases to amaze me that the criminals do not have their income and withholding verified but if the average Joe misstates either one they are subject to an audit.
Identity theft and fraud can happen to anyone at anytime. If you are a victim of identity theft or fraud and are in need of assistance give me a call (239-435-9111). Do you want to learn how to reduce your risk, the most common warning signs of identity theft or how to restore your identity after identity theft, then order your copy of Your Public Identity Because Nothing is Private Anymore. Available here, Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com
This was the topic of my radio segment on August 11, 2012. Click below to listen to a recording of the show.
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