Dentists report tax identity theft

His tax return rejected multiple times by the electronic tax preparation system for a “problem” with the taxpayer identification number, Dr. Gerald Bonnington called the Internal Revenue Service.

“The person I got hold of asked multiple questions to verify my identity and then put me on hold and checked for my return,” he said. “Within three minutes she came back on the line and told me that, yes, my Social Security number was already filed. She went on to tell me I needed to file Form 14039 with my tax return along with photo ID such as driver’s license and/or passport. She then explained that I needed to call the credit reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on my accounts. She suggested filing a police report and going online to the FTC and filing a report.

“At the end of the conversation she told me to expect a letter in six weeks or so from the IRS telling me how to go about things from then on with a numeric pin number.” Dr. Bonnington, an Anchorage oral surgeon, said other Alaska dentists have been similarly affected. “Some of my colleagues file electronically with the same results I had. Several filed paper returns and got a letter and their return back stating that it was already filed.”

The ADA and the Michigan Dental Association issued member alerts saying that some member dentists are among the many taxpayers reporting that they are victims of tax return identity theft. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., calling for a joint Secret Service-IRS investigation, said that more than 100 physicians, physician assistants, dentists and nurse practitioners in New Hampshire have reported that someone else filed a tax return using their Social Security numbers.

Other states where dentist members reported that they have been affected include Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide, and refund fraud caused by identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a notice posted at the IRS website.

The IRS said it has started more than 200 new investigations this filing season into identity theft and refund fraud schemes. The total number of IRS ID theft investigations in 2014 exceeds 1,800, the notice said.

There are a number of steps dentists can take if they learn their identity has been used to file a tax return, the ADA and MDA member alerts said.

• Alert your own accountant and attorney as soon as possible. They can be helpful in the process.

• Notify the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800.908.4490. If you receive a notice from the IRS, respond immediately if you believe someone may have used your Social Security number fraudulently.

• The Federal Trade Commission offers more information at Notify the FTC online or by calling 1-877.438.4338.

• Contact the three credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert on your credit report: Equifax (1-800.525.6285), Experian (1-888.397.3742), and TransUnion (1-800.680.7289).

• Notify local law enforcement and file a police report using the FTC identity theft report.

An ADA member resource, Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft, is available on the Center for Professional Success website. The Association will update members in ADA media and with other appropriate communications as this story develops.

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