Tax scammers have hit the Stanford University campus, with 23 cases reported already and more expected as tax return season draws to a close, according to the university's Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The DPS and the Information Security Office issued an alert to the university community on April 4 after a rash of reported incidents of fraudulently filed tax returns. The reports began on April 1 and the numbers are expected to be higher as people receive letters from the IRS saying that their tax returns have already been filed, said Bill Larson, public information officer for the DPS.
University police are working closely with the IRS and its partners to investigate the scams, which cost the government millions of dollars each year and are a growing problem nationwide.
"Tax frauds are really difficult to investigate in an effort to try to identify the perpetrators. It's frustrating for us and the victims," Larson said.
The Information Security Office provided specific guidance to the Stanford community on how to avoid, detect and handle identity theft, and Larson said he is hearing already that counselors are swamped with calls. They can be reached at security.stanford.edu/identity-theft.
Victims of a tax fraud, scam or identity theft should report it to the DPS at 650-329-2413, Larson said.
Once a police report is filed, victims can contact the Identity Theft Council, which provides free support and credit recovery assistance, by calling 888-771-0767.
For information on the services offered by the Identity Theft Council and tips to reduce the incidence of identity theft, visit identitytheftcouncil.org.