Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Just in time for tax season, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – the tax collection agency for the United States of America – has announced the launching of its new Identity Theft Central to improve online access to information about tax-related identity theft and data security protection for taxpayers, tax professionals, and businesses. Identity Theft Central is located on the IRS website at www.irs.gov/identity-theft-central.
Tax-related identity theft happens when someone steals an individual’s personal information to commit tax fraud. Identity Theft Central is a resource available 24 hours a day and seven days a week that shows taxpayers how to report identity theft, as well as how taxpayers can protect themselves against phishing, online scams, and more. From this one page on the IRS website, people can get specific information including:
- Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft, including what to do if someone becomes a victim of identity theft.
- Identity Theft Information for Tax Professionals, including knowing responsibilities under the law.
- Identity Theft Information for Businesses, including how to recognize the signs of identity theft.
Since 2015, the IRS, state tax agencies, and the nation’s tax industry – all working in partnership under the Security Summit banner – have made substantial progress in the fight against tax-related identity theft. But identity thieves are still constantly looking for ways to steal the identities of individuals, tax professionals, and businesses in order to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds.
The Security Summit partners have coordinated improving awareness and outreach to combat identity theft. They have taken steps to educate and improve protections for taxpayers, tax professionals, and businesses. As part of this effort, the IRS has redesigned the information into a new and streamlined page − Identity Theft Central − to help people get the information they need on identity theft, scams, and schemes.
The page also features videos on key topics that can be used by taxpayers or partner groups. The new page includes a video message from IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, warning signs for phishing email scams – a common tactic used for identity theft – and steps for people to protect their computer and phone. This is part of an ongoing effort by the IRS to share identity theft information with the public.
In April of 2019, the ESR News Blog reported that the IRS and the Security Summit partners announced that major progress was made in the battle against tax-related identity theft. A report found that between 2015 and 2018 the number of taxpayers reporting they were identity theft victims fell 71 percent while the IRS protected a combined $24 billion in fraudulent refunds by stopping the confirmed identity theft returns.
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – is accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) and undergoes annual SOC 2® Type 2 audits to protect consumer information against identity theft. ESR was also named a top background screening firm by HRO Today Magazine’s Baker’s Dozen. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.
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