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Identity theft cases rise during tax season: How to prevent it from happening to you

Identity theft cases rise during tax season: How to prevent it from happening to you
Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 20:31:25-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The IRS says identity theft is the most common form of fraud during tax season. Thieves collect your personal information and file a tax return under your name.

This tax season, the Arizona Department of Revenue has stopped more than 8,500 cases of fraud. Solving those cases saved Arizona around $28 million that could've been lost from fraudulent tax returns. The Department of Revenue says identity theft spikes every tax season, here’s how you can prevent it.

“You’ll have people trying to call taxpayers or email them impersonating the Arizona Department of Revenue or the Internal Revenue Service and ask for person confidential information from them,” Rebecca Wilder with the Arizona Department of Revenue.

The IRS and the Arizona Department of Revenue say to always question when someone is asking for your social security number, properly discard of documents with personal information, and monitor bank statements for weird transactions. Also, tax agencies will only contact you via mail, so any contact made outside of mail is not legitimate.

“We will never say click here to send us this you were missing a document or click here to access something,” said Yviand Hernandez with the Internal Revenue Service.

Tax agencies also recommend filing your taxes as early as possible, so if someone else files a tax return under your name, it’ll be recognized as fraud. But most important…

“The most important tip I would have for taxpayers is to encourage everyone to file electronically," Wilder said. "Filing electronically is faster, easier and much more secure than filing by paper.”

The IRS and Arizona Department of Revenue have investigative departments dedicated to identifying fraudulent tax returns. If fraud is detected, the organizations say they will contact taxpayers by mail.

“Once the taxpayers been notified, they are the ones that let us know, ‘Sorry this was me I made a mistake’ or ‘No, actually this wasn't done on my behalf,’” Hernandez said.

The burden falls on the taxpayer to prove their identity via forms online.