Working to Fight Tax Season Fraud with Prepaid Cards

March 7, 2017         By: Mike Dautner

Tax season is in full swing, and Americans are scrambling to get their affairs in order to ensure smooth sailing through this often tedious time.

Millions of people are working to file their taxes by the April 18 deadline with the possibility of receiving a refund.

Unfortunately as it happens, this time of year is ripe for the picking for potential cyber criminals looking to take advantage of the American tax payer. Through the use of stolen identities and falsified returns, these fraudsters rip off hard working people, costing them a pretty penny. Just recently the IRS released a report detailing tax scams for 2017 in hopes to create awareness around the tactics of these criminals.

However, the IRS isn’t fighting the good fight against tax refund fraud on their own. With prepaid cards continuing to be a popular method to receive tax refunds, the industry has made identifying and combating fraud and protecting consumers a constant priority.

This effort includes participating diligently in the IRS Security Summit and working alongside other stakeholders. This is including traditional financial institutions, members of the tax prep community, and local governments-all for the purpose of ensuring the security and integrity of tax return refunds.

“Although it was only created in 2015, the Security Summit has already achieved measurable success in decreasing stolen identity refund fraud,” said Brad Fauss, president and CEO of the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA). “We are working with others in the tax industry to develop solutions that better protect consumers against criminals who steal personal information—including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers—and file falsified tax returns. Our goal is to work with the IRS, the states and other stakeholders to limit the American taxpayer’s exposure to criminal activity specifically designed to steal their hard-earned money.”

“For the millions of Americans without a traditional bank account, whether by choice or because they don’t qualify, prepaid cards provide a safe place to store and use funds, while avoiding the check cashing and money order fees typically charged by alternative financial service providers,” said Fauss. “These same benefits don’t just apply to those using prepaid cards in their everyday lives, but also to tax filers expecting a refund, who can securely receive money in a timely fashion by selecting prepaid cards.”