Keeping a Finger on the Pulse of Identity Theft

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26578311 - male nurse pushing stretcher gurney bed in hospital corridor with male & female doctors & nurses & senior female patient in a wheelchair

Identity theft is alive and well. An article posted on WRAL.com reports that the identities of hundreds of doctors, dentists and nurses across Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire and North Carolina were recently used to fraudulently file hundreds of federal and state tax returns.

The story states that physicians and other healthcare workers across the nation have been recently victimized as evidenced by the alarming increase in the rate of legitimate tax returns rejected. (There’s nothing like having your identity stolen to make your blood pressure rise.) The recent attack on medical workers may point to a possible security breach. The article say that approximately 100 doctors in Connecticut have reported being victims of tax fraud, while more than 185 physician and health care providers from across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine have been affected. The scam also afflicted 300 dentists in Michigan.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers identity theft to be one of its biggest challenges. The IRS has stepped up efforts to combat the crime, stopping 15 million suspicious tax returns and more than $50 billion in fraudulent refunds. It is reported that the Justice Department has brought charges against 880 people in just the past year. (I’d say that is a pretty good start for finding a antidote to this widespread disorder.)

Still, it’s been said that ”an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Technology exists that actually helps to prevent this fraud from happening altogether, and some states are using it. So, here’s the question for the day: would you rather fight identity-based tax refund fraud or prevent it?

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Doctors Nationwide Victimized in ID Theft Fraud,” written by Dave Collins of the Associated Press and published on WRAL.com on May 8, 2014.

HARTFORD, CONN. — Many doctors and other health care professionals nationwide have been victimized this year by identity theft used to fraudulently obtain federal and state tax refunds — and their numbers are growing, medical industry and government officials say.

The number of doctors, dentists and nurses targeted by identity theft scams has increased significantly this year, raising questions about a possible security breach of the personal information of medical workers, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Thursday.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.