DRS Commissioner Joins National Anti-Fraud Effort

Source: DRS

November 19, 2015

WASHINGTON D.C. - Connecticut State Tax Commissioner Kevin Sullivan today joined the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), other state tax officials and representatives of major tax preparation businesses to focus on a new, coordinated nationwide effort to fight tax fraud. The Taxes. Security. Together. initiative grows out of a national summit earlier this year to strengthen collaboration around security best practices and fraud data-sharing. 

Said Commissioner Sullivan, “We are in a global war against tax-related identity theft and tax fraud. The criminals get smarter every day, but so do we. Connecticut continues to strengthen the ways we protect taxpayer identity information, screen suspicious filers and stop fraudulent refunds. Last tax season alone saw state tax fraud prevention increase from $23 Million to $38 million.” 

Commissioner Sullivan noted that the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) and the IRS are working with tax preparers to prevent fraud and identity theft. Preparers play a vital role protecting the taxpayers since they are the ones who sit down with each taxpayer, whether in person or electronically. 
 
Added Commissioner Sullivan, “Along with that, taxpayers themselves need to be our first line of defense.” He indicated several ways taxpayers can make it harder for identity theft and fraudulent refunds: 

  • Protect personal and financial information on-line, at work, and at home.
  • Always use reputable security software, including firewalls and anti-virus programs, and keep it updated.
  • Beware of phishing emails like those that ask you to update a bank account or tax software account. The link may take you to a fake website designed to steal your log-on information and attachments you open may include malware that allows a thief to get into your sensitive files.
  • Beware of fake phone calls. If you get a call from an aggressive, belligerent, or insistent person who says you will be sued or jailed if you don’t make an immediate payment: suspect fraud. DRS sends taxpayers billing notices before calling, and even then the call will only discuss your payment options. If you need to make sure a call is legitimate, hang up and call the number of the agency’s official website.
  • Shred old tax returns and documents with your name, address, bank account numbers, and credit card information.
  • Be careful what you post! Identity thieves add what they learn about you on social media to their database. Think carefully about what you share with the public.
  • Check your credit reports and Social Security Administration accounts regularly. Not all stolen identities are used for refund fraud. Thieves can take out loans and home equity lines using your credit or your children’s credit.
  • Only use a reputable, mainstream tax preparer, never sign blank tax forms, always verify your tax information. Don’t let any preparer take your refund and then pay you directly.
  • Above all, be patient because haste enables fraud so expect refunds to be delayed to protect taxpayers. New efforts to root out fraud will slow down the refund process on both the federal and state level.

The IRS and DRS offer helpful taxpayer fraud prevention and correction information on their websites at www.irs.gov and www.ct.gov/DRS and at Taxes. Security. Together