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Utah docs swept up in national tax fraud scam

Published May 2, 2014 5:50 pm

Identity theft • Suspected victims urged to contact IRS.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

More than 30 Utah doctors have been targeted in a national scam involving the filing of bogus tax returns under their names, according to the Utah Medical Association (UMA).

The scam is believed to be an attempt by identity thieves to steal tax refunds.

"Within hours of informing UMA members of this … scam, about 30 of our members responded saying they had been targeted. Since that alert, we have continued to receive more reports from more physicians saying this has also happened to them," reads a Friday press alert.

"UMA is now working with the U.S. Secret Service on this issue, to collect the names of any other Utah doctors who may have been affected," it said. "This is a widespread, national issue and Utah has not been immune."

Nationally, hundreds of medical workers in more than a dozen states — generally those with prescribing privileges, such as physicians, dentists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners –– have been similarly victimized, fueling speculation about an unreported data breach at some national organization responsible for certifying or credentialing providers.

"We are only aware of physicians being targeted in Utah at this time and do not know if other groups have been affected here," the UMA stated.

Victims typically discover the tax fraud — a growing threat in America — when they are unable to file a return, because one has already been filed under their Social Security number. Some physicians have reported receiving refund checks before even filling their taxes, according to UMA.

The IRS urges suspected victims to call its identity theft hotline at 1-800-830-5084 and to check their credit with a credit reporting agency.

kstewart@sltrib.com

Twitter: @KStewart4Trib