This information was sent to the U-M IT Security Community on April 16, 2015.
Hello IT Security Community,
Each year, across the country, some taxpayers attempt to file their federal and state income tax returns and discover that criminals have already filed fraudulent returns and claimed refunds in their names. We have received reports that a small number of U-M staff and faculty have been the victims of tax fraud this year. While these instances of tax fraud do not appear to be related in any way to the university’s systems or business processes, we will continue to investigate reports that we receive.
There are many ways that criminals can acquire Social Security numbers and other sensitive data for use in tax fraud. Some methods include phishing scams, computer malware, and underground criminal markets for personal information.
We provide reference information about tax fraud on the Safe Computing website that you can refer people to if they suspect they may be victims of tax fraud or have questions about it:
- 5 Tips to Avoid Online Tax Fraud (includes information about reporting tax fraud to the IRS)
We recommend that people who suspect they are victims of tax fraud do the following:
- Alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit by calling (800) 908-4490 or online (Reporting Fraud and Abuse Within the IRS E-File Program) and complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039).
- Alert the appropriate state tax organization. In Michigan, contact the Michigan Department of Treasury by calling (517) 636-4486, sending email to Treasury-ReportIDTheft@michigan.gov, or sending U.S. mail to Identify Theft Unit, Income Tax Division, P.O. Box 30477, Lansing, MI 48909.
- Place a freeze on your credit report file with any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies listed below. The alert will stay on your credit reports for 90 days, and can be renewed. This is a free service. You need to contact only one company. The company you contact is required to contact the other two.
- File a report with your local police department.
- Notify the ITS User Advocate by sending email to ITS.User.Advocate@umich.edu
University of Michigan Chief Information Security Officer
- Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft (IRS.gov)
- Income Tax Fraud: How to Protect Yourself (University of Vermont)
- Tax Fraud Advice, Straight from the Scammers (Krebs on Security, March 2015)
- Sign Up at irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You (Krebs on Security, March 2015)
- States: Spike in Tax Fraud Against Doctors (Krebs on Security, April 2014)