Billions of dollars of fraudulent refunds are being paid out every tax year. This not only puts a strain on government’s ability to provide services, but also erodes public trust in our country’s tax system. The principal method of conducting income tax refund fraud is through identity theft — specifically by filing a return deceptively as someone else.

It’s this easy - Anyone who has access to a computer can fill out an income tax form online and hit submit. Income tax returns are processed within weeks, and the proceeds are deposited into accounts or provided on debit cards. Once released, these monies are untraceable.

With Experian’s Tax Return Analysis PlatformSM (TRAP), you will be able to combat tax refund fraud with Credential and Access Management (FICAM)­–certified identity authentication tools built on the veracity of information collected from actual financial transactions and other public records. Gain the ability to conduct authentication checks on the devices used to submit the returns.

With the Experian’s Tax Return Analysis Platform (TRAP), you are provided with:

-Security of information at the highest levels

-No significant delays in refund processing

-Premier identity authentication based on financial transaction data and analysis

-Use of FICAM certified identity authentication tools

-Identification of additional financial fraud activity with identity credentials

-Authentication of the device used for electronic submission

-Identity-theft victim-mitigation services

Tax return filer authentication

How can you be assured that the person submitting the tax return is the legitimate individual to whom the refund is owed? Due to growing public demand, e-government directives, and the need for increased effectiveness and efficiency, government entities must make online access easy and secure for all. Experian's Precise IDSM is rapidly emerging as the real-time identity-proofing service of choice for federal, state and local government agencies.

Experian’s Knowledge IQSM, powered by Precise ID, is a revolutionary knowledge-based authentication tool for identity authentication and fraud prevention. Precise ID scoring models and Knowledge IQ interactive challenge-response questions, e.g., out-of-wallet questions, provide innovative and integrated identity authentication and fraud detection on a single platform. By combining the leading-edge analytics and decisioning technology of Precise ID scores with the sophisticated Knowledge IQ challenge-response authentication questions, you have a comprehensive risk-management and identity authentication system.

Indicators of additional financial fraud with identity credentials

Once stolen, identity credentials are often used to commit other credit-related fraud in addition to tax refund fraud. A stolen identity has a short shelf life, and most fraudsters will try and use it for multiple transactions before it is abandoned. Experian® will identity other instances of financial fraud connected to the same identity credentials being used to submit the tax return.

  • Device authentication — More than 80 percent of all tax filings are submitted online. Individuals committing tax fraud will use the same computer to submit tax returns, submit credit applications, open accounts, etc. Experian device proofing can authenticate the device being used to provide additional assurance that the device is not involved in fraudulent activity and detect possible fraud rings.


  • Matching filer to deposit accounts — While a legitimate consumer intent on receiving his or her refund may request the funds be deposited into different accounts, the legitimate filer will have at least one of those accounts associated directly to him or her. Experian will provide a check of the filer’s information against a repository of back account ownership information to assure at least one of the accounts provided for deposit can be legitimately tied to the filer.


  • Deposit of multiple refunds into one account or multiple refunds sent to one address — In the commission of identity theft–based refund tax fraud, a common practice of fraudsters is to file a large number of returns at one time and have those refunds deposited into the same back accounts or sent to the same addresses. Experian’s analytics process will detect if multiple refunds are being deposited into the same account or being sent to the same address, which is another fraud red flag.

Identity Theft Protection

While catching the potential fraudsters and stopping the release of fraudulent refunds is of paramount concern, the ability to offer potential identity theft victims a way to regain their credit standing and protect themselves from future attacks also is an essential component of addressing identity theft–based tax fraud. Identity theft occurs when someone steals personal identifying information in order to perpetrate fraud or other offenses, such as obtaining loans, services or credit. To reduce an individual’s future risk and help protect him or her and his or her family, Experian offers a complete identity theft protection product. Experian's Identity Theft Protection product can help catch identity theft and fraud when it happens and help you regain your good name and credit.

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