The Office of the Indiana Attorney General said Monday that it has already received more tax-related identity theft complaints this year than in all of 2011.
Last year, the office received 19 tax-related identity theft complaints; this year, 20 people have filed complaints. The spike in the number could be because the Internal Revenue Service is doing a better job of finding suspicious activity sooner and reporting it to taxpayers.
The IRS sends notices to taxpayers if more than one return was filed in the person’s name or if the taxpayer received wages from an unknown employer.
Complaints have come from people who believe their personal information or that of their children was used to file fake tax returns and claim funds. Sometimes, Social Security numbers were stolen to obtain employment, so the victims are seen as not having reported all of their income on their tax returns.
“Identity theft knows no season, but as Hoosiers file their taxes it provides a unique opportunity for thieves to use names and Social Security numbers to claim significant refunds,” Zoeller said. “These complaints underscore the need for all consumers to be proactive in guarding their personal information whether online, at home or on their person.”
Scammers have used unsolicited emails to seek personal information, often claiming to be from the IRS. These phishing scams and identity theft made the list of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2012.