Identity theft is alive and well. An article posted on WRAL.com reports that the identities of hundreds of doctors, dentists and nurses across Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire and North Carolina were recently used to fraudulently file hundreds of federal and state tax returns.
The story states that physicians and other healthcare workers across the nation have been recently victimized as evidenced by the alarming increase in the rate of legitimate tax returns rejected. (There’s nothing like having your identity stolen to make your blood pressure rise.) The recent attack on medical workers may point to a possible security breach. The article say that approximately 100 doctors in Connecticut have reported being victims of tax fraud, while more than 185 physician and health care providers from across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine have been affected. The scam also afflicted 300 dentists in Michigan.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers identity theft to be one of its biggest challenges. The IRS has stepped up efforts to combat the crime, stopping 15 million suspicious tax returns and more than $50 billion in fraudulent refunds. It is reported that the Justice Department has brought charges against 880 people in just the past year. (I’d say that is a pretty good start for finding a antidote to this widespread disorder.)
Still, it’s been said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Technology exists that actually helps to prevent this fraud from happening altogether, and some states are using it. So, here’s the question for the day: would you rather fight identity-based tax refund fraud or prevent it?