By: Lynn A. Toops, Attorney

Identity theft has a lasting impact on consumers. Approximately 80 million people were immediately faced with the reality of identity theft after the nation’s second-largest health insurer, Anthem, announced a massive data breach of its computer system on February 4, 2015. Thieves stole customer names, birthdates, social security numbers, addresses, and employment information from an Anthem database that contained information about current and former Anthem customers–Everything a hacker needs to get fraudulent credit card accounts, loans, and even tax refunds.

Fraudulent tax returns

Tax refund fraud is a form of identity theft that is on the rise. In one year’s time, the IRS reported identity theft related criminal investigations tripled. Criminals Tax Related Identity Theftuse stolen personal information to file state and federal tax returns and rob people of their tax refunds. The fraud goes undetected until the taxpayer attempts to file their return. At that time they are notified that a return and refund has already been processed.

What should you do if you are a victim of a fraudulent tax return filing? State and federal department of revenue offices have procedures in place that taxpayers can follow to have their return corrected and recoup any refund money that was sent to identity thieves. But the process takes time. Research must be done to verify the information supplied is correct. For more information about the taxpayers guide to identity theft click here. The Indiana Department of Revenue published this Identity Protection Program Fact Sheet to provide additional information to Hoosier taxpayers.

Anthem Data Breach Lawsuit

Cohen & Malad, LLP filed a class action lawsuit on February 5, 2015 on behalf of 80 million Anthem customers whose personal information was stolen after a massive computer data breach was discovered. Anthem executives have stated that hackers obtained customer names, birthdates, social security numbers, addresses, and employment information from its unencrypted database.

If you would like more information about the lawsuit against Anthem, contact us. Our class action attorneys have talked to many people who are current and past clients of Anthem and have had tax-related identity theft problems.

photo credit: Tax Bill via photopin (license)