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State reports more tax return fraud by identity thieves

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MADISON, WI (WSAU) -  There are people who will steal your name so they can file a tax return and claim a big, fraudulent refund... affecting both you and the government. It’s an identity theft problem that has already affected many Wisconsin residents.

Jarad Albrecht is with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.

He says they’ve already had several people call to report identity thieves filing taxes in the victim’s name.  "We're getting a number of calls from people around the state who are going to file their taxes, just to find out that someone has gotten the jump on them and has used their personal information to file taxes.  They're getting rejected by the IRS for what should be a legitimate filing."

Albrecht says we need to keep our personal information personal, especially when working on the computer.

If you attempt to file your taxes, but the return is rejected, don’t wait. Albrecht says you need to contact the right agencies right away.  "Contact the IRS if they haven't heard from them already, and let them know about the situation.  The IRS should be able to help them work it through, otherwise, they should also contact the Office of Privacy Protection which is part of Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection here.  Let us know about the situation, file a complaint, and we'll be able to advise them on how to protect their identity in future situations."

Albrecht says they usually see the false claims filed to the IRS for a federal refund, but not so many problems with state tax returns.

The DATCP invites calls from anyone who suspects they’ve had their identity stolen or if they see suspicious activity from tax preparers. Albrecht says most tax preparers are honest and reputable, but they did find one independent preparer that was a problem. He says to read every tax preparation document closely before you sign anything, and always get a copy of the documents for your own file.

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