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105 people busted in massive identity theft crackdown by US taxmen

105 people were arrested from 23 states for a total of 939 criminal charges pertaining to refund fraud and identity theft

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The Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice teamed up for a coast-to-coast crackdown on identity thieves this week.

The coast-to-coast law enforcement onslaught arrested 105 people in 23 states and included indictments, arrests and the execution of search warrants involving the potential theft of thousands of identities and taxpayer refunds, the IRS stated. In all, 939 criminal charges are included in the 69 indictments and information related to identity theft.

The IRS said auditors also conducted compliance visits to money service businesses in nine locations across the country in the past week. The approximately 150 visits occurred to help ensure these check-cashing facilities aren't facilitating refund fraud and identity theft, the IRS stated.

The IRS also is taking a number of additional steps this tax season to prevent identity theft and detect refund fraud before it occurs. 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, as well as expanded efforts to place identity theft indicators on taxpayer accounts to track and manage identity theft incidents, the agency stated.

The IRS earlier this month created a special section on IRS.gov dedicated to identity theft, including YouTube videos, tips for taxpayers and a special guide to assistance. The information includes how to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialised Unit and tips to protect against phishing schemes that can lead to identity theft.

The IRS is instrumental in fighting identity theft. A 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office stated that in 2010, the IRS identified more than 245,000 identity theft incidents that affected the tax system. The hundreds of thousands of taxpayers with tax problems caused by identity theft represent a small percentage of the expected 140 million individual returns filed, but for those affected, the problems can be quite serious.

"The IRS provides taxpayers with targeted information to increase their awareness of identity theft, tips and suggestions for safeguarding taxpayers' personal information, and information to help them better understand tax administration issues related to identity theft," the GAO states.



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Andrew Wayne said: Of course the IRS could do so much more in this area especially when it comes to spotting false returns But taxpayers should keep a look out and adopt measures in order to protect themselves from identity theft which may lead to tax fraudThere is a pretty useful article with tips on what one can do to prevent identity theft httpwwwprestinaegelecomhI would just add filling the return early as fraudsters do the same using a shredder to destroy tax related documents after tax season is over and keep the necessary ones in a safe And try to collect all of your mail as soon as possible during tax timeBest of luck to the IRS and taxpayers Additionally I would recommend not to fill ones Social Security no on medical forms if there is a problem with it they will say something but usually dont And of course if you adjust your W-4 such that the government does not owe you a refund you are probably saved from being victim of tax fraud



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