KANSAS CITY, MO - (Marketwired) - January 25, 2016 - Stolen tax identify refund fraud is a million dollar business -- for the fraudsters. In 2013, the last year of available statistics, the IRS identified almost 3 million potential fraudulent returns. That same year there was more than $5 billion paid out in fraudulent refunds. Today H&R Block (NYSE: HRB), the world's largest consumer tax preparation company, joins the industry to kick off what the Federal Trade Commission deemed Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.
The truth is, all taxpayers are vulnerable to tax identity theft. The news is filled with a barrage of stories detailing the latest data breach as well as news of young and old, rich and poor, blue-collar and white-collar, all falling victim to tax identity theft.
But what makes someone a particularly attractive tax identity theft target? The truth is that the tax identity thief works to steal almost anyone's identity. However, it could be easier to get away with tax identity theft if the identity thieves are able to file early and get the refund before the taxpayer ever knows. Here are five characteristics that may make someone an ideal potential tax identity theft victim:
"H&R Block is a leader in the industry and as such we are taking additional steps to help better protect our clients, this tax season," said Mark Ciaramitaro, vice president of H&R Block products and services. "Both in the office and online we take the protection of our clients' personal data very seriously."
To combat the problem, the IRS created the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) program. The IRS and taxpayer use the IP PIN at the time of tax return e-filing to prove the taxpayer's identity. But this program can be confusing, leading to very low IP PIN adoption.
H&R Block is committed to helping taxpayers take advantage of this program and take additional steps to help better protect themselves and their tax identities. Tax Identity Shield® will provide tools and information, in partnership with Equifax®, to help clients better protect themselves from tax identity theft, including:
Tax identity theft is one of the top concerns this time of year. Now is the time for everyone to take proactive steps to help better protect themselves.
To learn more about tax identity theft and how to protect against it, visit http://fraudcenter.hrblock.com/.
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world's largest consumer tax services provider. More than 680 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955. In fiscal 2015, H&R Block had annual revenues of nearly $3.1 billion with 24.2 million tax returns prepared worldwide. Tax return preparation services are provided by professional tax preparers in approximately 12,000 company-owned and franchise retail tax offices worldwide, and through H&R Block tax software products. H&R Block also offers adjacent Tax Plus products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom at http://newsroom.hrblock.com/.
SOURCE H&R Block