The Internal Revenue Service can’t say it often enough: Tax-related identity theft remains a serious problem, especially during tax season.
Although instances of this scam have dropped sharply in recent years, bad guys are still out there using someone’s stolen Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund, according to the agency.
“The IRS and the Security Summit partners in the states and the private sector have joined forces to improve our defenses against tax-related identity theft, sharply reducing the number of victims,” IRS commissioner Charles Rettig said in a statement.
“But we encourage taxpayers to continue to be on the lookout for identity theft schemes, including email phishing attempts and other tax scams.”
Tax-related identity theft is one of a “dirty dozen” nefarious activities the IRS warns taxpayers to be alert to every year.
The agency noted in the statement that it began working together with the states and the private-sector tax industry in 2015 as the Security Summit to fight tax-related identity theft. The partners enacted several safeguards that it said were showing good results.
These safeguards include expanded information sharing among the Summit partners and more robust internal IRS controls to guard against fraudulent tax returns.