The state Dept. of Taxation and Finance has created a new website offering guidance to residents who believe they are victims of identify theft, including how to determine if you are and what steps you can take to recover your identity and any lost money.
The new page (http://www.tax.ny.gov/help/contact/identity_theft.htm) explains how thieves can use an individual’s identity to file fraudulent tax returns and get refunds. Such crimes are not a small problem. In a post last year, Tax Watch reported on a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report that found the Internal Revenue Service paid out $5 billion in tax refunds to identity thieves in 2011.
Most taxpayers do not know they are victims until they attempt to file a return or receive an unexpected notice from the IRS, state tax officials said.
Tax filers are advised to treat all of their personal information, including social security numbers, credit card and bank accounts, and other information with the utmost care. But if you are victimized, immediately contact the tax department for guidance at (518) 457-5181. Alternatively, gather a photocopy of your government issued ID, such as a driver’s license, US passport or US military ID card, fill out an identity theft declaration (found here), get proof of address such as a utility bill or lease agreement and a copy of any correspondence from any tax agency.
Fax all of the items to (518) 435-2990 (Attn: Identity Theft) with a statement of why you think you’re an identity theft victim or mail them to:
NYS Assessment Receivables
Attn: Identify Theft
P.O. Box 4128
Binghamton, NY 13902-4128