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Spike in tax fraud last year prompts warning from state Division of Revenue

With tax season approaching, state officials are urging individuals and small businesses in the First State to be sure and secure their tax information when filing this year.

The IRS reported an uptick in identity fraud used to falsify tax returns last year. Identity thieves can use stolen Employer Information Numbers to file fraudulent individual tax returns, and can do the same with a small business if they have a company name in addition to the EIN.

Delaware Division of Revenue Director Jennifer Hudson says many con-artists display advanced knowledge of the tax code.

“We’ve even had some situations where identity thieves have prepared falsified W2s and then attached them to fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds,” said Hudson.

The state and IRS may request additional information from individuals and businesses on their 2018 tax returns to help verify the request for a return is genuine.

Hudson says there are many simple ways to keep tax information from thieves.

“Don’t do financial transactions on unprotected Wi-Fi. So, don’t go into a coffee shop and start paying your bills,” said Hudson.

Hudson also advises Delawareans to shop at familiar online retailers, use security software to protect against malware and learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails to better protect their EIN.

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