Crime

1 Million Social Security Numbers Stolen By Immigrants

| by Ray Brown
IRS field office in New York CityIRS field office in New York City

Between February 2011 and December 2015, the IRS found that nearly 1.1 million Americans had their social security numbers stolen by an undocumented immigrant and were not notified of the theft, according to a new report.

The report, which was conducted by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), was done in order to track the progress of a warning system for identity theft victims, which began in April 2014. But according to the report, TIGTA found that the “IRS has not established an effective process to ensure that the required notice is sent to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to alert it of earnings not associated with a victim of employment-related identity theft.”

Republican Sen. Daniel Coats of Indiana was outraged that the IRS was not yet able to notify everyone who has been a victim of identity theft.

“It is stunning that the IRS has chosen to aid and abet identity thieves for so long instead of protecting the innocent victims of the theft,” Coats said, according to The Washington Times.

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Coats blamed the IRS for allowing stolen social security numbers to be used by processing tax returns using those numbers.

“What we learned is that … the IRS continues to process tax returns with false W-2 information and issue refunds as if they were routine tax returns, and say that’s not really our job,” Coats said, according to Forbes. “We also learned the IRS ignores notifications from the Social Security Administration that a name does not match a Social Security number, and you use your own system to determine whether a number is valid.”

But Karen Schiller, commissioner for the IRS‘ small business and self-employed division, said the agency is working on improving a program that only began in 2014 and plan to have it fully functioning by 2017.

“As we continue to battle and make progress against all strains of identity theft in the tax ecosystem, we recognized that we were missing an important partner in this effort -- the taxpaying public,” Schiller told The Washington Times.

Sources: The Washington Times, Forbes, Department of the Treasury / Photo credit: Matthew G. Bisanz/Wikipedia

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