Brown Joins Effort To Stop Tax ID Theft And Fraud

Photo by Flickr's 401(K) 2012
Photo by Flickr's 401(K) 2012
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A criminal can use a stolen social security number and file a tax return in the victim’s name, then collect the tax refund. Senator Brown says the Federal Trade Commission ranked Ohio 20th in the nation for identity theft complaints, with more than 9,000 Ohioans reporting cases in 2014.

And Brown says a federal analysis of IRS data in 2013 shows a widespread problem that hurts honest taxpayers and drains government resources.

“More than 5 million attempts at ID theft refund fraud were detected, attempting to claim some $30 billion in fraudulent returns,” says Brown. “While many of these criminals were caught, far too many were not. The IRS still paid out almost $6 billion in fake returns.”

The Ohio Democrat is a co-sponsor of an anti tax fraud bill that seeks to close identity theft cases within 90 days and stiffen penalties for those who commit tax-related identify theft.

Joining Senator Brown on a conference call with reporters was Cincinnati resident Ralph Wolfe. He says someone filed a tax return with his wife’s information, which has caused endless trouble and fear.

“We had to cancel some credits cards to make sure there was no identity theft, contacted all the credit bureaus,” recalls Wolfe. “It’s just time consuming, and it’s going to take up to 300 days for me to get my refund, which I just finally filed. I’m scared, not knowing who got a hold of our ID.”

The legislation – called the Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act – also aims to restrict storage and display of social security numbers by Medicare and private health care providers.

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