(Consumerist Dot Com)

Two Women Charged With Filing More Than 850 Fraudulent Tax Returns Worth $2.78M

Every year you hear about identity thieves filing tax returns in other peoples’ names in order to snatch their refunds, but you may not realize what a big business this is for some crooks. Case in point: A pair of Illinois women who have pleaded guilty to filing more than 850 bogus returns worth nearly $2.8 million in refunds. [More]

(frankieleon)

One of the smart things to do when your identity has been stolen is to contact the three major credit reporting agencies — TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian — to discuss placing a temporary fraud alert and credit freeze on your accounts. But as one Consumerist reader found out, all it takes to remove those restrictions is the same information that any good ID thief already knows about you. [More]

Sh4rp_i

How To Avoid Losing Money To The “Utility Company” Scam

When the weather outside is frightful, losing your heat or electricity is the last thing you want to have happened. But don’t let your fear of such an event push you into falling for a common scam perpetrated by fraudsters trying to pass themselves off as utility company employees on the phone. [More]

Ciaran McGuiggan

Why Is Credit-Card Fraud Still Rising In The New Chip Era?

For years, American consumers have waited for safer credit cards with embedded chips that make them more difficult to clone, and which can require a unique PIN or a signature to use. Now that these cards are finally in widespread use, and retailers are begrudgingly shifting over to new card-readers, why is identity fraud still on the rise? [More]

AJENT.MSG

Tax Season Is Now Open: Here’s Why You Should File ASAP

As of today, tax season is officially open! While you might want to file as early as you can if you’re expecting a refund, there’s also a very good reason why you should file as soon as you have your documents in order: to block overseas identity thieves from doing it first. [More]

frankieleon

If You’re Relying On Your Tax Refund, IRS Warns It May Come Late This Year

There are just a few weeks left until tax preparation season kicks off, and today the Internal Revenue Service had some bad news for families that receive the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit: they will not receive their tax refunds until the end of February. [More]

Mom Says College Stole Her ID, Forged Signature To Take Out Student Loan For Son Who Didn’t Attend School

Mom Says College Stole Her ID, Forged Signature To Take Out Student Loan For Son Who Didn’t Attend School

A for-profit educator that was recently hit with a $13 million settlement for allegedly filing false claims for student aid is now accused of stealing an Alabama woman’s identity and forging her signature to take out a student loan for her son, even though he never attended that school. [More]

Kimpton Hotels Investigating Possible Credit Card Breach

Kimpton Hotels Investigating Possible Credit Card Breach

You might not be familiar with the Kimpton chain of boutique hotels, but we can guarantee that a lot of business travelers (and the folks in their companies’ accounting departments) are now keeping an eye out for odd activity on their credit cards after news of a possible payment card data breach affecting multiple Kimpton locations. [More]

Adam Fagen

6 Things We Learned About The IRS’s Fight Against Fraud And Identity Theft

Things are difficult for the IRS right now. For the last few years, people contacting the IRS have encountered lengthy phone hold times, and identity theft and refund fraud drain billions of dollars’ worth of tax refunds into the pockets of international criminals. The Government Accountability Office has the job of overseeing government agencies, including the IRS, and it released a new report today about its issues and possible ways to fix them. [More]

Roger Shaw

Identity Theft Victim Confronts Alleged Scammer

There’s an episode of Friends in which Monica’s identity is stolen and she goes on to become best friends with the woman posing as Monica Geller, you know, before she goes to jail. Things didn’t so quite the same for a Los Angeles woman who says she confronted a couple she alleges used her identity to open credit card accounts and file income tax returns. [More]

Nicholas Eckhart

Home Depot Agrees To Pay $20M To Settle 2014 Data Breach Lawsuit

Nearly two years after Home Depot said 56 million consumers’ credit and debit cards, as well as email addresses, were compromised in a massive data breach, the home improvement retailer has reached a $19.5 million deal to settle a class-action lawsuit and compensate those customers.  [More]

IRS Tool To Protect Identity Theft Victims Vulnerable To Identity Thieves

IRS Tool To Protect Identity Theft Victims Vulnerable To Identity Thieves

Every year, we warn you about tax return identity theft: bad guys all over the world obtain enough personal information about U.S. taxpayers to file fake tax returns and steal our refunds. After a taxpayer’s identity gets stolen in this way, the Internal Revenue Service issues them a special identification number that they have to enter when filing their tax return. The problem is that these numbers are pretty easy to access, too, and the IRS doesn’t have a good replacement yet. [More]

(Trisha)

ID Thieves Hijacking Accounts To Cash In On Bogus Warranties

In a pre-online era, when we made most purchases in person, getting a warranty replacement on a broken product often required taking the defective item back to where you bought it. But now that we’re all buying things online, a number of retailers are willing to ship you a replacement on the understanding that you’ll immediately return the original item. ID thieves are taking advantage of this goodwill, hijacking customers’ accounts and convincing companies to send them free replacements for items they never bought. [More]

Identity Theft Company LifeLock Once Again Failed To Actually Keep Identities Protected, Must Pay $100M

Identity Theft Company LifeLock Once Again Failed To Actually Keep Identities Protected, Must Pay $100M

Five months after federal and state regulators accused identity theft protection company LifeLock of violating a 2010 settlement in which it paid $11 million for allegedly using false claims regarding effectiveness of its services, the company has been ordered to pay $100 million in penalties and refunds for once again misleading consumers.  [More]

(Great Beyond)

IRS Working With State Agencies & Tax Preparation Companies To Combat Refund Fraud

It’s been a rough year for the Internal Revenue Service, what with thieves stealing information for roughly 100,000 taxpayers and a slew of fraudulent refunds filed with TurboTax that had the FBI and various states scrambling to investigate. Now the IRS says it’s working with state agencies and tax-preparation firms to combat stolen-identity refund fraud.

[More]

IRS Suspects Russian Identity Thieves In Data Breach

IRS Suspects Russian Identity Thieves In Data Breach

You may remember that the Internal Revenue Service announced late yesterday that about 100,000 taxpayers’ personal information was breached when thieves armed with their personal information were able to log in to the IRS transcript system and extract even more sensitive information about their victims. Today, we learned that the IRS suspects that an organized group of hackers out of Russia are responsible for the 200,000 attempts to extract taxpayer data. [More]

IRS: Thieves Obtained Information On 100,000 Taxpayers From Transcript System

IRS: Thieves Obtained Information On 100,000 Taxpayers From Transcript System

A tax transcript is a document from the IRS that shows key information from tax returns that you’ve already filed, or changes to what you and the government owe each other that may have been made after the return was filed. You can normally order them online, but the system is now closed after the IRS learned that people identified only as “thieves” accessed transcripts for about 100,000 people. [More]

The FTC launched a new tool today that aims to make it easier for consumers to recover from identity theft.

FTC Rolls Out Interactive Resource For Victims Of Identity Theft

With seemingly daily reports of new data breaches and related scams, it’s no secret that identity theft is now more of a concern than ever. In an effort to help victims work their way through the process of restoring and protecting their identities, the Federal Trade Commission has launched a new online interactive tool. [More]