Billions in Tax Refund Fraud–and How to Stop Most of it
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 @ 8:55PM
The Treasury may be losing as much as $5 billion a year from fraudulent tax refund claims—and most of that fraud is entirely preventable.
The New York Times reportedyesterday about the rampant use of identity theft to exploit weaknesses in the IRS’s tax refund processes, sometimes resulting in thousands of fraudulent refunds.
The most common form of fraud simply requires criminals to obtain a valid name and social security number, preferably from someone who won’t be filing a tax return. Then the criminal makes up wage and withholding information, files a tax return electronically (avoiding the need for an actual W-2 form), claims a few deductions and tax credits to produce a larger refund, and waits a couple of weeks for the refund.