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Release Date: February 6, 2017
Media Contact: Jerad Albracht, Senior Communications Specialist,
608-224-5007 or Bill
Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020
MADISON – Tax-related identity theft is an established concern nationwide, as
state and federal tax authorities have wrestled for years with a blight of
criminals filing fraudulent tax returns using other people’s personally
identifiable information. For a scammer, tax identity theft means quick
cash. For a victim, it’s a delayed return, concern about who has their
personal information, and the fear of what else the criminal might do with
these personal details.
“Last year, tax identity theft was a factor in three of every four identity
theft complaints that consumers filed with the Wisconsin Department of
Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection,” said Frank Frassetto, Division
Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection. “Federal and state tax
authorities have recently put additional safeguards in place to protect the
public from this threat during the tax filing process, but taxpayers are
chiefly responsible for protecting their own information throughout the year.”
If you run into difficulties when you file, you may be a victim of tax
identity theft. If someone misused your identity for a fraudulent return,
the IRS or your tax preparer may warn you that multiple returns were filed
under your Social Security number, that you owe additional taxes or are facing
collection actions for a year you did not file a return, or that you received
wages from an employer for whom you did not work.
If you face any of these issues, report the suspected fraud by phone to the
IRS (1-800-829-0433) and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue
(1-608-266-2486). Contact DATCP’s Consumer Protection Bureau
(1-800-422-7128) to inquire about next steps for shoring up your
identity. The IRS also advises taxpayers to continue paying their taxes
and filing their returns, even if they suspect that they may be victims of
“A consumer’s best protection against a criminal filing taxes in your name
is to get a jump on the thieves by filing early. Also, if you file your
return online, make sure to use up-to-date security software on your computer
and set up strong passwords for your tax software login,” said Frassetto.
During the year, follow these simple tips to protect your personally
- Share your sensitive information as rarely as
possible. Turn down any request for personal information from an
- Don’t carry cards containing sensitive details like
your Social Security or Medicare numbers unless you specifically need them
(for an appointment, for example).
- Remember that the IRS, United States Treasury and
Wisconsin Department of Revenue will NEVER call and threaten you with
arrest or legal action about back taxes. Any phone calls of this
nature are scams.
- Use online security best practices. Learn how to
recognize phishing emails and text messages. Never click on links or
download attachments in emails from unknown senders or in emails that seem
For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer
Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov, call the Consumer Protection Hotline
at 1-800-422-7128 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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