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March 10, 2014 – TaxTalk Blog
The department just announced that in only one month of processing more than 1 million individual tax returns, the Indiana Department of Revenue has already stopped $1,208,000 in attempted identity theft and tax fraud.
The fraudulent returns were stopped by the department’s increased security features in the 2014 tax filing process, which we discussed in a previous blog.
The department’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has confirmed 619 returns as attempted fraud, which represents $1,208,000 that criminals attempted to steal from taxpayers and the State of Indiana. Not only is the department stopping the fraud, it plans to prosecute the criminals as well.
SIU will continue investigating these criminals throughout the tax season, and the department expects to be able to prosecute them within the year.
With this year’s identity protection program, the identifying information in each return due a refund is cross-referenced through a sophisticated automated identity verification database. Of the returns checked for verification, 95 percent of taxpayers’ information was verified and the returns continued processing as usual.
As an additional level of protection, more than 28,800 taxpayers have been selected to confirm their identities. Those selected received a letter from the Indiana Department of Revenue with instructions of how to take the Identity Confirmation Quiz.
It is important that those required to take the quiz know they are not suspected of identity theft. This effort is designed to further protect taxpayers’ identities and tax refunds. After successful quiz completion, the taxpayer receives his or her refund on time—within 14 days if electronically filed and within 12 weeks if filed by paper.
Seventy-five percent of those required to take the Identity Confirmation Quiz have taken it online, and those who have taken the quiz on the phone have waited an average of only 12 seconds before being helped by a department representative.
These increased security features come at a time when identity theft has become an epidemic. In 2013, 13.1 million consumers were victims of identity theft, according to the Javelin Strategy and Research 2014 Identity Fraud Report.
Along with the increased security features in the identity protection program, the department continues to urge taxpayers to safeguard their personal information and protect their identities.
Visit the department’s Stop ID Theft website at www.in.gov/dor/4794.htm for identity protection tips, a video and additional resources. Hoosiers can also sign up for the Attorney General’s ID Theft Protection Tool Kit at www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2853.htm.
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