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The Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance reminds you to beware of

1/29/2015
 
TAMPA, Fla. – During Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, the Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance is reminding citizens to beware of tax identity theft.  
 
“As tax season approaches, Alliance partners will aggressively investigate cases of tax identity theft,” said FDLE Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center Special Agent in Charge Rick Ramirez.  “These thieves steal your identity to obtain fraudulent tax returns or to apply for jobs. Scammers may even pretend to be IRS officials to have you send them money.  We urge you to report suspicious activity and take appropriate steps if you believe you are a victim.” 
 
“The IRS remains dedicated to stopping tax-related identity theft and protecting the local taxpayers,” said IRS Criminal Investigation’s James D. Robnett, Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa Field Office. “In partnership with the members of the ID Theft Alliance, we will continue to bring those who target law-abiding taxpayers to justice. Area citizens should be sure to use reputable tax return preparers and only share personal information when absolutely necessary.”
 
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. 
 
There are five simple steps you can take to help lessen the odds of become a victim of identity theft.
 
  • 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.
 
If you become the victim of tax-related identity theft, take the following steps immediately: 
 
  • 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; and
  • 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.
 
For additional tips on how to protect your identity, visit www.secureflorida.org, www.irs.gov/identitytheft or www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
 
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
(850) 410-7001