State warns of identity theft scams

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Gazette staff
Thursday, July 10, 2014

MADISON—State officials are warning of a new trend in identity theft that centers on tax returns.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said consumers are receiving notices from tax agencies in other states about filed tax returns.

The consumers didn't earn income or file tax returns in those states, but the state tax agency letters say their return is under review.

“Don't assume the letter is just a clerical error,” said Sandy Chalmers, a division administrator for the department. “If a tax return was filed using your personal information, you may be the victim of identity theft.

“Take immediate steps to protect your identity.”

Identity thieves use personal information to file fraudulent tax returns in hopes of getting a refund.

If you believe you may be the victim of identity theft, the department recommends these immediate steps:

-- Contact one of the three major credit reporting bureaus to place a fraud alert.

-- Order your credit reports and review them for unexpected activities.

-- File a police report about the incident.

The department is working with the Internal Revenue Service, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and the states that sent the notifications.

If you receive a similar letter, file a complaint on the DATCP website at datcp.wi.gov or contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-422-7128 or by email at datcphotline@wisconsin.gov.

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