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BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Revenue is again finding inconsistencies in tax returns filed electronically through third-party software, like Turbo Tax.  Bob Estabrook with the department tells KBND News the software is often used by scammers due to the ability to submit a lrage number of fraudulent returns in a short amount of time.  "What we’re seeing is something not dissimilar to what we saw last year, where fraudulent returns were filed by individuals who have essentially able to steal someone’s identity.  So, filing a return on behalf of the legitimate taxpayer but trying to route that refund to the fraudster."  Estabrook says electronic filing is still a good way to submit your tax return, because it cuts down on math errors and gets everything to the state quickly.

 

He says to protect yourself, file your return early.  If you've already filed, a thief can't use your information to file again.  And, if you receive a notification that your return has already been submitted, you need to take proactive steps to correct it.  "Contact the software company to address that issue, but you can contact the department of revenue directly."  He adds, "We have a hotline, but also access through our website for folks to report potential identity theft so we can identify those potentially fraudulent returns and try and help the taxpayer get the situation sorted out as quickly as possible."   Once you've filed, he says the best way to protect your refund is by requesting a direct deposit.   "If they’ve electronically filed, and requested direct deposit, and they’ve passed the 4-10 day window, they can pick up the phone and call us to check on their status, or through our website, check on the status of their return that they’ve filed. So, if it seems like something has potentially gone awry, there’s opportunities for them to get more information and engage with us, so that if there is an issue we can try and get that resolved as soon as possible. 
 
Visit the Department of Revenue online to request tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make tax payments.  Or, call 1-800-356-4222.

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