GAO: IRS Pays Hundreds of Thousands of Fraudulent Refunds to Crooks


Updated on Mon Dec 3, 2012

Looking forward to a refund from the IRS? You better hope a criminal doesn’t collect it first.

A study by the Government Accounting Office says there have been 641,690 incidents of identity theft involving tax fraud this year as of Sept. 30.  And as if that isn’t bad enough, the GAO says the IRS investigates only 0.1 percent of the thefts. In other cases the bad guys have kept the cash, according to ABC News.

The dollar volume of fraudulent refunds is not known, according to the GAO. Financial institutions recognized and returned to the IRS $754 million in tax refunds they found suspicious between January and Sept. 30, 2012. The GAO said that figure is only a fraction of the total amount of refund fraud.

James White, spokesman for the GAO, said the nearly 642,000 cases included many attempts by individuals or groups of criminals, but the IRS does not know how many individuals are responsible.

The lesson in this is twofold. First, you should do everything possible to protect your online identity, particularly your Social Security number. Second, the IRS is a mess.

You can read the entire story here.



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