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Now that April 15th has passed, do I still need to worry about tax fraud?
Taxes are due on April 15 every year, but for the millions of Americans who filed extensions and the millions more who pay taxes quarterly or monthly, there is no tax season, because every season is tax season. Taxes and the possibility of tax fraud are constants. Thus, constant vigilance is needed, especially now. The IRS and state tax officials have reported that tax fraud is up 3700% this year. Sadly, the IRS itself has been hacked and the personal information of 104,000 American taxpayers has been leaked to the criminal ring responsible for the digital break in. According to the IRS Commissioner Josh Koskinen, the hackers found a way in to the IRS databanks through "Get Transcript," a service that allows taxpayers to see past year returns.
To make matters worse, victims of tax fraud have to wait a long time for resolution. According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS has made progress in assisting the innocent victims of income tax fraud, but it still takes 278 days, on average, to resolve a claim, all the more reason to vigorously protect your identity at all times. Remember, the IRS will never call you on the phone. The IRS communicates by U.S. Mail only. If someone calls you and claims to be from the IRS, they're phonies - HANG UP IMMEDIATELY!
Naturally, the IRS is keenly aware of the epidemic nature of the identity theft problem. Although the federal bureau is faced with stark budget shortages, the IRS has managed to create a new Cyber Crimes unit. Unfortunately, the IRS' Criminal Investigations department, which houses the new unit, is down to 2500 special agents today, which brings the IRS back to 1970s staffing levels.
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