Physicians are the latest victims in a tax refund fraud scheme making waves across the nation. The American Medical Association reports it's working with federal officials in the investigation, headed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Secret Service. While the exact source of the identity theft hasn't been detected, several theories exist.
Most physicians who are victims of this scam first learn of it when they receive an IRS 5071C letter advising them of possible fraud. Others receive a rejection notification when attempting to file their tax return electronically. It indicates it cannot be submitted because a return has already been filed under the physician's Social Security number.
The 5071C letter from the IRS has instructions for providing information via the IRS identity theft website. Affected physicians can call the IRS at (800) 830-5084 to let the agency know they did not file the return referred to in the IRS letter.
So far, the Texas Medical Association has learned four Lubbock physicians have fallen prey to this scam. They discovered the theft when they attempted to file their tax returns.
Please notify TMA if you have been victimized by this scheme. The association can then convey the scope of the situation to the proper authorities. Contact the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In February, the IRS issued a report titled "Dirty Dozen" Tax Scams for 2014 on identity theft affecting tax payers.
AMA has the following guidance for fraud victims:
- File a paper return, and attach a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit to explain what happened.
- Attach copies of the 5071C letter and any other notices from the IRS on this issue.
Physicians who did not receive a 5071C letter or already have received confirmation of legitimate tax return acceptance most likely are not victims of this year's scam.
If you have not received notice from the IRS but believe your personal information may have been used fraudulently or worry you may have been victimized, call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490.
The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has heard from dozens of physicians in the state who are victims of this scheme. NCMS suggests contacting the following agencies if you learn your Social Security number has been used fraudulently:
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which recommends other immediate steps and provides helpful information on its website.
- Consider filing a police report locally. Bring all documentation available, including any state and federal complaints you filed. This likely will be necessary if financial account fraud occurred as a result of the identity theft. If the only fraud is tax-related, however, the police report will be necessary only if the IRS requests it.
- Call the Social Security Administration's fraud hotline at (800) 269-0271 to report fraudulent use of your Social Security number. In case your number is being used for fraudulent employment, you also can request your Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement or call (800) 772-1213. Check it for accuracy.
- Consult the U.S. Department of Justice website for additional information.
Also, the FBI has tips to help you protect your personal identity from thieves.
Action, May 16, 2014