For Immediate Release
January 15, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. – During Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, the Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance is reminding citizens to safeguard their identities.
“As Tampa Bay residents begin to work on their taxes, our task force investigators continue to aggressively investigate cases of identity theft,” said FDLE Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center Special Agent in Charge Rick Ramirez. “Please help us by reporting suspicious activity and taking appropriate steps if you believe you may be a victim.”
“Tampa Bay Alliance members have made tremendous progress combating identity theft tax fraud and we are ready for another tax season,” said Jim Robnett, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation in Tampa. “We are in the middle of multiple investigations where a criminal has tried to file a phony tax return using someone else’s personal information and there will be many more investigations before April 15th.”
The Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance was formed in July 2012 and is comprised of 20 Tampa Bay federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. The goal of this specialized team is to investigate identity theft crimes and pinpoint vulnerabilities in personal and business transactions.
Five simple steps to protect your identity:
· Do not throw away ATM receipts, credit statements, credit cards, or bank statements without first shredding them.
· Never give out personal information online simply because someone asks for it.
· Never give your credit card number or Social Security number over the telephone unless you initiated the call.
· Reconcile your bank account monthly and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.
· Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year.
What to do if you are a victim:
· Flag your credit reports. Contact the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).
· File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).
· File a report with the local police.
· If you received a notice from the IRS, call the number on that notice.
· Fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039.
· Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 if you think you are at risk due to a lost/stolen purse or wallet.
If you have information about fraudulent activity, contact Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-8477.
For Further Information Contact:
Gretl Plessinger, Samantha Andrews or Steve Arthur
FDLE Office of Public Information