IRS Criminal Investigation has issued a warning to taxpayers about an increase in false tax returns being filed with the IRS using stolen Social Security numbers. Stealing identities and filing false tax returns is a serious crime that hurts innocent taxpayers, according to government officials. Both nationwide and in New Mexico, IRS Criminal Investigation has designated identity theft as a priority area and increased numbers of tax fraud investigations relating to identity theft have been initiated in recent years.
There are 26 IRS Criminal Investigation field offices across the country that investigate tax fraud and refund fraud, including identity theft. Investigation analysts in IRS Scheme Development Centers often discover identity-theft related schemes where refunds appear to be going to identity theft perpetrators. In these instances, action can be taken to stop additional false refunds and protect victim accounts. IRS Criminal Investigation recommends prosecution of refund fraud cases, including cases involving identity theft, to the Department of Justice.
“IRS Criminal Investigation is serious about investigating identity theft,” said Gabriel Grchan, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation. “Filing fraudulent tax returns is the same thing as stealing from the U.S. Treasury. It also harms those individuals whose identities were stolen.”
“The IRS has taken numerous steps to combat identity theft and protect taxpayers. I encourage you to go to www.IRS.gov and read the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft, call 1-800-908-4490 or visit your local IRS office for information about identity theft and what to do if you become a victim,” said Grchan.