FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bob Dittmer, APR
Stopped ID Theft Tax Fraud
Reaches $2.8 Million
Department of Revenue identity protection program
protects 1,533 Hoosiers from identity theft
INDIANAPOLIS (April 1, 2014) — More than $2.8 million in identity theft attempts through fraudulent tax returns has been stopped by the Indiana Department of Revenue during the past two months of processing more than 2 million returns. The attempted identity theft fraud was identified by the department’s increased security features in the 2014 tax filing process.
The department’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) confirmed 1,533 individual tax returns as identity theft attempts, which represents $2,835,000 that criminals attempted—but failed—to steal from Hoosier taxpayers and the State of Indiana. SIU has developed strong leads that it intends to work with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office to prosecute.
“In past years, Indiana was able to stop identity theft fraud attempts, but not as extensively as we wanted,” said Commissioner Mike Alley. “Stopping $2.8 million in the first two months of the tax season demonstrates we have significantly improved our ability to stop the identity theft epidemic and the resulting tax fraud.”
Part of the department’s Identity Protection Program involves asking selected taxpayers to take an Identity Confirmation Quiz. This additional level of protection consists of a two-minute quiz that asks four questions to which only the respondent would know the answers. It can be taken on a secure website hosted by the department or over the phone. The attempted fraud was stopped while asking only 5 percent of Hoosier taxpayers 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.
Hoosiers asked to take the quiz must complete it to allow their refunds to continue processing. All taxpayers asked to take the quiz have 30 days to complete it, but the department encourages them to complete it as soon as possible to prevent refund delays.
After successful quiz completion, taxpayers should not see a delay in the processing of their refunds. All refunds should be received within 14 days if electronically filed and up to 12 weeks if filed by paper.
Seventy percent of those required to take the Identity Confirmation Quiz have taken it online. Those who have taken it on the phone have waited an average of only 12 seconds before being helped by a department representative.
In addition, the department has experienced significant success in answering taxpayer questions through its phone center. Taxpayers are experiencing an average of only a 2-minute wait time to reach a tax analyst for assistance. As of March 31, the department’s call center has handled more than 53,600 calls from taxpayers with individual tax questions. The average call completion time is 4.5 minutes. Hoosiers with simple or complicated tax questions can call the department at (317) 232-2240.Hoosiers with questions about protecting their identities can visit the department’s Stop ID Theft website at www.in.gov/dor/4794.htm for frequently asked questions, 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.