Officials with the Idaho State Tax Commission are concerned after seeing an increase of 64% of falsely filed tax returns between 2014 and 2015.
Tax theft and identity fraud are an all too common problem for Idahoans including Judy Rhodes of Boise who went to TurboTax to file her taxes and discovered it had already been filed.
“I was mad because I work hard for my money and I get a little bit but these stupid guys play games and get several hundred thousand back,” Rhodes said about the scammers.
Rhodes eventually was able to sort out the fraudulently filed tax return but not before spending time on the phone with both the Idaho State Tax Commission and Boise Police Department reporting the fraud.
Emily Valla with the Better Business Bureau has said that everyone is vulnerable to tax fraud but has some tips to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
“Don’t carry your Social Security card in your purse or wallet or your Medicare card because that also has information on it. If someone asks for a Social Security number, ask them why they need it and how they plan on protecting it,” Valla said.
To combat the fraud, the Idaho State Tax Commission has taken steps to run all tax returns through a computer program that searches for discrepancies and the likeliness of fraud.
If an issue arises, you may see a letter in your mailbox from the Idaho State Tax Commission asking to confirm your identity.
“We’re asking people in some cases to verify that they filed a tax return or verify an identity before we will issue a refund,” Renee Eymann of the Idaho State Tax Commission explained.
So far, the agency has mailed over 9,000 letters to Idahoans hoping to verify identities and reduce the number of dollars going to a scammer’s bank account.