Casey, Highlighting Local Data, Pushes for New Measures to Combat Identity Theft

As New Reports of Cyber Hacking Come with Alarming Frequency, Casey Pushes for Legislation that Phases Out Unnecessary Use of Social Security Numbers in Healthcare System / Data for Each PA Metropolitan Area Reveals Extent of Identity Theft Complaints Across Commonwealth- Only Florida Had More Confirmed Cases of ID Theft in 2014 / Casey’s Bill Would Expedite Refunds for Victims, Reform Maze of Bureaucracy That Frustrates Victims and Increase Penalties on Those Who Commit Tax Fraud- Including Tax

Casey, Highlighting Local Data, Pushes for New Measures to Combat Identity Theft

Washington DC- With Pennsylvania 2nd in the nation for identity theft, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), highlighting data from the state’s metropolitan areas, pushed for new measures to combat identity theft. As new reports of cyber hacking have come with alarming frequency, Casey pushed for action on the Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act of 2015, which would phase out unnecessary use of Social Security numbers in the healthcare system, among other measures. In 2014 Pennsylvania was second only to Florida when it came to the number of confirmed ID theft cases, which totaled 172,426. The legislation would expedite refunds for victims, reform a maze of bureaucracy that has left victims frustrated and increase penalties on those who commit tax fraud, including tax preparers who are engaged in fraud.

“In recent years, identity theft has become an increasing problem. With more transactions occurring online, it has become easier for bad actors to gain access to Americans’ personal information and use that information to commit tax fraud,” Senator Casey said. “ID theft impacts far too many Pennsylvanians and it’s critical that Congress take action to better combat ID theft and protect victims.”

The bill would help prevent ID theft, as well as improve the IRS’s response to ID-theft-related tax fraud. Specifically, it would:

  • provide for expedited refunds for victims of identity theft;
  • ensure that all victims have a single point of contact at the IRS that tracks the case from start to finish;
  • require that the IRS inform victims when their information is used in tax fraud;
  • establish a law enforcement liaison within the Criminal Investigative Division of the IRS to work with state and local law enforcement;
  • phase out the unnecessary storage and use of SSNs in the health care system;
  • expand IRS access to the National Directory of New Hires to expedite information sharing;
  • increase penalties for engaging in tax fraud; and
  • increase the penalty for tax preparers who improperly disclose or use tax return information.

Pennsylvania Data

Pennsylvania had over 100,000 confirmed cases of tax-related ID theft in 2014:

  • In 2014, 172,426 Pennsylvanians were victims of tax-related identity theft.
  • Although our state ranks sixth in population, we had the second-highest number of identity theft cases, after only Florida.
  • Almost a tenth of last year’s identity theft victims were Pennsylvanians.

And many Pennsylvanians have made complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about identity theft

  • Identity theft complaints from PA victims: 10,446
    • Government documents/benefits fraud accounted for 3,613 (35%) of these cases
    • Identity theft reports increased nearly 17%

Biggest metropolitan area for fraud/consumer complaints by metropolitan area:

City

Fraud complaints by area

Altoona

454

Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton

3,713

Chambersburg-Waynesboro

503

East Stroudsburg

785

Gettysburg

345

Harrisburg-Carlisle

2,436

Johnstown

564

Lancaster

1,658

Lebanon

415

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington

37,138

Pittsburgh

10,737

Pottsville

619

Reading

1,524

Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton

2,302

State College

431

Williamsport

440

###

Press Contact

John Rizzo 202-228-6367