Department Stops More
Than $1 Million in Tax Fraud
INDIANAPOLIS (March 4, 2014) — In just 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. 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.
“We have been highly successful in stopping identity theft and fraud so far this tax season, and we will continue this effort,” said Commissioner Mike Alley. “However, it’s not enough just to stop these criminals. We want to send a clear message that you’re going to be stopped and you’re going to be prosecuted in Indiana.”
SIU is investigating and building cases against the identity theft criminals behind the fraudulent returns. It will continue investigating these criminals throughout the tax season, and the department expects to be able to prosecute them within the year.
“If the department doesn’t prosecute the criminals, they will simply change their methodology and try to steal money and identities again next year,” said Gabrielle Owens, director of SIU.
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.