Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FAQ about tax fraud

Authorities say at least half a million people have been victims of tax fraud since 2008, yet many aspects of this crime are misunderstood. Here are some common questions and answers.

How does tax fraud work?

Criminals are using efile programs, including TurboTax, to file false tax returns. They use legitimate names and Social Security numbers, then enter fraudulent income information. In the Tampa Bay area, they usually aim for a profit of about $9,000, which they often elect to receive on a preloaded debit card.

Why $9,000?

There's a perception on the street that refunds of $10,000 or more attract more scrutiny.

What can I do to protect myself?

File early. Also, guard personal information, including Social Security numbers, as much as possible. Don't respond to emails that ask for personal information.

What's being done to stop this?

The Internal Revenue Service says it's working hard to flag suspicious returns. It's also developing a pilot program in Tampa that would allow the IRS to share tax fraud victims' personal information with local police, which would aid in police investigations. Federal lawmakers have introduced a bill that would help in this effort.

How are people getting names and Social Security numbers in the first place?

A criminal's first stop is federal records that list Social Security numbers of the deceased. They also pay employees at nursing homes, doctors' offices and other businesses for this information. Some steal mail.

I'm a victim. What should I do?

Report the identity theft immediately to the IRS at 1-800-908-4490. You'll also likely need to fill out an "identity theft affidavit" found on the IRS website:

Where can I get more information on protecting my identity?

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor is holding two town hall meetings May 3 on the topic of consumer fraud and identity theft: 9 to 11 a.m. at the Cyrus Greene Community Center, 2101 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Tampa, and 2 to 4 p.m. at the Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S in St. Petersburg.

FAQ about tax fraud 04/21/12 [Last modified: Saturday, April 21, 2012 9:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Memorial service sparks wistful memories for daughter of slain Hillsborough deputy

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — As the somber notes of "Taps" sounded in a stiff breeze, Sherri Longway thought about her father.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, far left, stands with his hand over his heart along with others during the HCSO's annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service Wednesday, May 24, 2017 in the Ybor City area Tampa. Sheriff David Gee along with dignitaries and members of the sheriff's office paid tribute to members of the Sheriff's Office who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
  2. Editorial: Super Bowl yardsticks for bay area


    From the moment they arrive, Super Bowl fans returning to Tampa for the NFL title game in 2021 will see and experience an entirely new Tampa Bay region. Whether it's the expanded airport, the growing universities and thriving downtowns or the new entertainment destinations and incubators for business, visitors will feel …

    From the moment they arrive, Super Bowl fans returning to Tampa for the NFL title game in 2021 will see and experience an entirely new Tampa Bay region.
  3. Convicted murderer whose release Pam Bondi fears will stay behind bars

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Tampa police officer convicted in 1980 of murdering a security guard will not be released from prison after a parole hearing that Attorney General Pam Bondi said could have put her at risk.

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi arrives for an injunction hearing at the Hillsborough County Courthouse, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, in Tampa, regarding William Norman Wilkes, the man she alleges has been stalking her. On Wednesday, the Florida Commission on Offender Review is set to consider whether to let Charles Norman, a former Tampa police officer convicted of murder, will seek his possible release. Bondi says Norman has sent her threats. "He is a menace to society and needs to remain behind bars," Bondi said.   [Loren Elliott | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Romano: On this education bill, you decide who is evil


    The political ramifications are not lost on Kristine Benson.

    Six-year-old Chase Benson was born with down syndrome and autism. He attends a private school in Palm Harbor through a Gardiner Scholarship. [Photo courtesy of Kris Benson]
  5. St. Petersburg police team with federal agencies to crack down on gun and drug offenders (w/video)


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police say Raymond Adams, 29, jumped a fence to break into a home in the 800 block of 51st Street Avenue S.

    Some of the guns confiscated during an eight month firearms, drug trafficking, and violent crime operation dubbed the St. Petersburg Violent Crime Reduction Initiative were on display Wednesday, 5/24/17 at the St. Petersburg Police Department.  Federal charges have been filed against 35 individuals and state charges have been filled against 9 individuals in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times