IRS working to detect tax identity theft
The IRS is fighting back against an increase in identity theft. The agency recently completed a nationwide sweep. YNN’s Brittany Edney has more on how the government is combating refund fraud.
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As you begin to file your tax return, keep in mind, you might not be the only one. There’s been a spike in refund fraud with thieves filing false claims by stealing someone's social security number and the IRS wants scammers to know there's a heavy price to pay for this crime.
"Our agents are out in the field, working tirelessly to detect these schemes, disrupt them and to bring those responsible into the criminal justice system to face justice," Daniel Burget, criminal investigator for the IRS.
A coast-to-coast crackdown against nearly 400 suspects led to 734 arrests, indictments and other actions.
"Convictions of these crimes are normally multiple years in federal prison, orders of restitution to the victims and IRS. These are not to be taken lightly and we don't take them lightly," said Burget.
The agency has added new filters to screen for potential fraud and is working harder to get victims their rightful returns. Experts said there are several things you can do to make sure you don't fall victim to the scam.
"One of the most important ones is to safeguard your social security number, don't let that information fall into the wrong hands. Also, safeguard credit card numbers, bank account numbers and other sensitive personal information like your old tax returns," said Mark Hanson, IRS Spokesman.