State Sec. Says Department Has Thwarted Millions In Identity Theft

Feb 22, 2018

Wi. Dept. of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler

The state Secretary of the Department of Revenue says they have worked hard to prevent identity thieves from stealing your tax return.

In an interview with WXPR, Richard Chandler says a few years ago identity thieves were having their way across the country lifting information then pretending to be the person filing the tax return.

He says that has changed....

"....what we've done in Wisconsin is put in place some very strong safeguards. If we see reasons to indicate a return is fraudulent, we'll ask the person who is filing it to take a short quiz, answer a few simple questions. If it's the real taxpayer they will be able to answer the questions quickly and get their refund. If it's not the real taxpayer they tend to give up and go away....."

Chandler says the thieves get the information in a variety of ways..

"...we haven't had a breach of the Dept. of Revenue website or database. What happens is thieves steal identities from a bank or retail store or a health care system or someplace like that and then use the information to impersonate a taxpayer and file a fraudulent refund with us. We are working hard to detect those kinds of attempts and block them...."

Chandler says almost $60 million in fraudulent and erroneous refunds and credits were blocked last tax season because of the department's identify verification tools, and $315 million of potential fraud was blocked in the past seven years.