by: Rachel Stockman Updated:ATLANTA —
An email and a letter from the Georgia Department of Revenue asking taxpayers personal questions are causing some confusion.
The Georgia Department of Revenue said the emails and letters are legitimate and part of a new fraud detection program. Several viewers contacted Channel 2 Action News fearing they were getting scammed.
The program piloted in 2012 and so far has saved taxpayers $153 million, according to a spokesman with the Georgia Department of Revenue.
“We are one of the few states in the country that is running this program and we think it has gotten great results,” said Douglas MacGinnitie, the Georgia State Revenue Commissioner.
“There has been so much identity fraud in the news lately I was kind of hesitant because it was a skim letter, it looked like someone could have copied it, I didn’t know,” taxpayer Urquida Davis told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.
“We are constantly looking at the program. We know we don’t stop 100 percent of fraudulent activity that happens in Georgia,” MacGinnitie said.
Only a small percent of Georgia taxpayers have received the letter, which states their refund will be suspended until additional verification steps are taken.
“For certain returns we kick those out if they look suspicious in some way, if the addresses don’t match up,” MacGinnitie said.
Those taxpayers are directed to the Georgia Department of Revenue website, where they will have to take a quiz to verify their identity.
“The questions do not ask for any additional information, it is just like you would do if you had a credit card stolen,” MacGinnitie said.
If you do not fill out the quiz, you will not get your state refund.
“We are putting a little bit of burden on some taxpayers, but trying to make it as easy as possible to make sure we are protecting the state money,” MacGinnitie said.