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State Says Nearly $1.8 Million in Fraudulent Tax Refunds Stopped

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State Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla on Tuesday said identity theft rings have unsuccessfully tried to cash in nearly $1.8 million in fraudulent tax refunds so far this tax season, the department said in a news release.

Tax fraud investigators so far have stopped some 900 fraudulent personal income tax returns for 2011 totaling more than $1.77 million, the release said.

“It’s that time of year again when criminal enterprises prey on innocent citizens by stealing their identities and then filing fraudulent tax returns on their behalf,” Padilla said in the release. “We’re requesting taxpayers to be extra vigilant during this tax season and contact us immediately if they suspect their personal information has been stolen or compromised.”

An individual’s identity may have been stolen if he or she receives a letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service indicating that more than one tax return was filed and the wages are from an unknown employer, the Taxation and Revenue Department said.

“If you receive such a letter from the IRS, leading you you believe your identity has been stolen, respond immediately to the name, address or phone number on the IRS notice,” Padilla said. “If you believe the notice is not from the IRS, contact the IRS to determine if the letter is a legitimate IRS notice.”

To report tax fraud, call the Tax Fraud Hotline at 1-866-457-6789.

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