Rep. Cook Votes To Protect Taxpayers from Identity Theft
WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for H.R. 3832, The Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act of 2016. The measure passed the House overwhelmingly.
This bill directs the IRS to enhance the agency’s efforts in combating the growing problem of identity theft. Specifically, the bill requires the IRS to notify taxpayers of any instances of identity theft detected by the IRS, and to provide affected taxpayers with information on the circumstances of such theft.
Tax refund fraud associated with identity theft is a serious threat facing Americans. Identity theft refund fraud occurs when a refund-seeking identity thief obtains an individual’s identifying information and uses it to file a fraudulent tax return. This fraud burdens taxpayers who have had fraudulent tax returns filed in their name because they must deal with delayed refunds as they authenticate their identities with the IRS. In 2013, the IRS estimated that it prevented $24.2 billion in fraudulent identity theft refunds, but paid $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds
Rep. Cook said, “Identity theft is a huge problem. This bill will help keep taxpayers’ identities safe and also save taxpayer money. We need to do everything we can to protect taxpayers’ personal information and if it’s exposed, the IRS has an obligation to let them know their identity has been compromised.”
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.