The recent report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration of the IRS’ poor record when it comes to preventing tax identity theft where identity thieves steal the names of Social Security numbers of their victims and then file phony federal income tax returns claiming phony tax refunds is absolutely startling when you consider that the IRS’ computers were not able to find anything amiss when it issued more than a million dollars in refund checks regarding 741 separate income tax returns that all used the same Belle Glade, Florida address. But that wasn’t even the worst example. The IRS sent checks totalling more than 3.3 million dollars in regard to 2,137 individual returns that all listed the same Lansing, Michigan address.
As I have explained previously on this website/blog, identity thieves get names and Social Security numbers of people to file phony income tax returns from Social Security’s own Death Master File which lists the names and Social Security numbers of recently deceased individuals. This information is available free on line. They also have stolen the names and Social Security numbers of Puerto Rican citizens who are not liable for federal income taxes, they have stolen the names and Social Security numbers of children and they have stolen the names and Social Security numbers of many others through a large variety of illegal tactics. To keep yourself from becoming a victim of tax identity theft, keep your Social Security number as private as possible. The fewer places that have this information, the better. Also, file your income tax return as early as possible. Identity thieves file phony income tax returns in the names of their victims before W-2s are required to be filed with the government this year until February 28, 2013. The Identity thieves forge phony w-2 forms which the IRS may not have a valid W-2 to compare it to.