Watch for income tax fraud schemes

Since the 2015 tax filing season began, the North Liberty Police Department has been inundated with Federal Income Tax Fraud reports from the citizens of North Liberty. This notice provides information, guidelines, and instructions to those who have been victimized by this crime.

Income tax fraud is not isolated to North Liberty or to the State of Iowa. The number of fraudulent tax returns is on the rise nationally as criminals use stolen names and Social Security Numbers to forge W-2 information on electronic filed tax returns. It is often difficult to trace the source of the stolen information which may have occurred during recent well-publicized security incidents and data breaches across the country. Most people do not realize there is a problem until they file their tax return and discover that a criminal has beaten them to it.

Reports are inconsistent, but the federal tax return fraud rate is most commonly reported in the range of 1 to 2 percent. States report increases of 50 to 3,700 percent in fraudulent tax returns this year. The North Liberty Police Department has seen a huge increase during the filing season. We expect that more reports will surface before the tax season is over.

Another scam involves a phone call claiming the North Liberty Police have an IRS warrant for your arrest. Warrants are not handled in this manner and we do not take personal information, banking, or credit card information over the phone.

Those who believe they may be the victims of tax fraud should immediately take the following steps, as recommended by the Federal Trade Commission: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0008-tax-related-identity-theft

Step 1: File a report with your local Sheriff or Police Department. In most cases this can be done in person or by telephone.

For those filing with the North Liberty Police Department a phone call will suffice. We will obtain some personal information about you and the circumstances surrounding your individual case. We will need the date your taxes were prepared and what service or agent you used. We will provide you with a case number for your records. It is vital for your protection that you follow the remaining steps in the process.

Step 2: Report the fraud to the Internal Revenue Service, Identity Protection Specialized Unit: 1-800-908-4490.

Further information can be obtained by visiting the IRS web site at:

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Identity-Protection

Step 3: Create an Identity Theft Report by filing an identity theft claim with the FTC.

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0277-create-identity-theft-report

Step 4: Send a copy of your police report or an IRS ID Theft Affidavit Form, along with proof of your identity, to the IRS: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf

Step 5: Record the dates you made calls or sent letters for you own records.

Step 6: Keep copies of letters in your files

Step 7: Put a fraud alert on your credit reports: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275- place-fraud-alert

Step 8: Order and monitor your credit report

The FTC also provides a comprehensive identity theft action document (PDF) with step-by-step instructions on recovering from this crime: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0009- taking-charge.pdf

The North Liberty Police Department will be available to assist you and answer questions throughout this process. However, the Criminal Investigation Department of the IRS will investigate these frauds. Following the aforementioned steps will facilitate the most rapid resolution to your case.

If you have been the victim of another form of Identity Theft the above links can assist you in aiding our investigation into your case. The North Liberty Police Department does have Identity Theft Packets available to those who have had their identity stolen in some other way.

This document and the links contained herein can be found on the home page found at www.northlibertyiowa.org/police.

The North Liberty Police can be reached by contacting dispatch at (319) 356-6800.