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Fraudulent IRS tax scheme affecting Wisconsin physicians

Physicians should be on the lookout for problems with their federal tax return. The Wisconsin Medical Society has learned within the past week that multiple Society members have been affected by a multi-state identity theft scheme designed to steal their federal tax refund.

The scheme involves the use of a stolen Social Security Number (SSN) to file a fraudulent tax return in a physician’s name in order to receive the physician’s tax refund. Physicians typically have learned they were targeted by such fraud when they were unable to e-file a tax return because a return was already filed using their SSN, a refund was received before they filed a tax return, or they received an IRS 5071C letter informing them of possible fraud related to their taxes.

The fraud is not limited to physicians, but the Society has received reports of fraud from at least 20 members, and hundreds of physicians nationwide have been affected to date.

According to the IRS, physicians who suspect they have been the target of tax-related identity theft should take immediate action, including the following steps:

  1. File a report with local law enforcement.
  2. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800.908.4490. Individuals can additionally file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.identitytheft.gov or at 877.438.4338.
  3. Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit and provide it to the IRS as instructed on the form. It may be necessary to file a paper tax return along with the Affidavit.
  4. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” on their credit records:
  5. Respond immediately to any IRS notice and call the number provided (obtain verification that the communication is legitimate as a separate scheme uses false IRS notices). Note that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail or other electronic means to request personal or financial information.

Federal, state and local law enforcement are aware of and are investigating this fraud, but the source of the data breach that has led to this problem currently is unknown. The Society is in contact with federal authorities and will provide additional information to members as it becomes available.

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