Identity theft key indicators continue IRS dramatic decline in 2017; Security Summit highlights progress against identity theft
IR-2018-21SP, February 8, 2018
WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, IRS, announced today that in 2017 there were marked reductions in identity theft related to tax, attributing the success to the efforts of the Security Summit that help protect taxpayers in the country.
In 2017, key indicators of identity theft decreased for the second consecutive year. This includes a decrease of 40 percent taxpayers who reported they were victims of identity theft in 2016. Since 2015, the number of victims of identity theft related to tax has decreased by almost two thirds and have protected thousands of millions of dollars of taxpayer refunds.
“This dramatic reduction reflects the continued success of the efforts of the Security Summit,” said David Kautter, Acting IRS Commissioner. “This partnership between the IRS and state tax community helps protect taxpayers from identity theft. Much work remains to be done, and look forward to continuing this collaborative effort to combat identity theft and fraud reimbursement. ”
The IRS, state tax agencies and tax industry began its third season working as tax Security Summit, a partnership of public and private sector formed in 2015 to combat identity theft. Summit partners have implemented many safeguards to help protect taxpayers of the nation.
Because the IRS and Summit partners have intensified their efforts to prevent fraudulent refunds suspects entering processing systems tax, there remains a substantial decrease in the number of taxpayers who report they are victims of identity theft .
Here are the key indicators of calendar year 2017:
The number of taxpayers reporting to the IRS who are victims of identity theft continued its biggest decline. In 2017, the IRS received 242,000 reports of taxpayers compared to 401,000 in 2016, a decrease of 40 percent. This was the second consecutive year that this number was reduced, compared with 677,000 reports of casualties in 2015. Overall, the number of victims of identity theft has decreased by almost 65 percent between 2015 and 2017.
- The number of tax returns with confirmed identity theft decreased to 597,000 in 2017, compared to 883,000 in 2016, a decrease of 32 percent. The amount of reimbursement protected from these fraudulent claims was $ 6 billion in 2017, compared with $ 6.4 billion in 2016. In 2015, there were 1.4 million returns confirmed identity theft for a total of $ 8.7 billion in repayments protected. Overall, during the period 2015-2017, the number of tax returns confirmed by identity theft decreased by 57 percent and protected more than $ 20 billion in taxpayer refunds.
- The financial industry is a key partner in the fight against identity theft, helping to recover fraudulent IRS refunds that may have been issued. In 2017, banks recovered refunds 144,000 compared to 124,000 in 2016, an increase of 16 percent. The amount of refunds was recovered $ 204 million in 2017, compared with $ 281 million in 2016. In 2015, the financial industry recovered 249,000 refunds for a total of $ 852 million.
- In addition to these sharp declines, the IRS also continues to reduce the accumulation of annual inventory of taxpayers filing reports of identity theft. For fiscal year 2017, the initial inventory of identity theft reports filed by taxpayers was approximately 34,000, less than 10 percent of the initial inventory of fiscal 2013 of 372,000 cases of identity theft of taxpayers.
These decreases result from the extensive educational efforts of the Summit in 2017. The Summit Association conducted awareness campaigns for tax professionals, not take the bait , and taxpayers, the National Security Tax Week because all have a role in the fight against identity theft.
Cybercriminals looking for new lines of attack
Last year, data leaks from outside the tax system mean that criminals have basic information of millions of Americans, such as names, social security numbers and addresses. The steps taken by the partners of the Summit since 2015 help protect against fraudulent tax returns using these basic data. As the IRS and Summit partners have strengthened their defenses, identity thieves looking to steal more detailed financial information to help provide a more detailed statement and realistic to impersonate legitimate tax payers. Because they need more personal data, increasingly cyber thieves target tax professionals, HR departments, businesses and other places that have a lot of confidential financial information. The IRS continues to see these schemes attempts to obtain information from W-2 forms taxpayers tax professionals and employers .
Everyone must be vigilant and alert. Both are encouraged taxpayers as tax professionals:
- Use security software. Always use security software with firewall and antivirus protection. Make sure your security software is always on and can be automatically updated. Encrypt sensitive files, such as tax files stored on computers. Use strong and unique passwords for each account.
- Beware of scams. Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threats calls and text messages thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies and even the IRS or tax software firm. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
- Protect personal data. Do not carry Social Security cards routinely and ensure that tax files are safe. Buy online accredited retailers. Treat personal information such as cash; do not let it run.
For more information, visit www.irs.gov/identitytheft and then select “Spanish”.