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State will ask some to prove identify before getting tax refunds

Ken Teegardin
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some people expecting tax refunds may have to jump through an extra hoop to get them this year.

Jeremy Sampson is a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Treasury.

He says up to 100,000 letters will go out, asking people to verify their identity online, before they can get their refund.

It's to reduce identify theft and refund fraud, which is not a small problem.

"Last year the department was able to stop over 80,000 suspicious income tax refund requests," says Sampson, "and we were able to stop over $75 million of potentially fraudulent refunds."

Sampson claims people will be able to tell if their letter is actually from the state, and he says the website people will be directed to is secure.

"The letter will have the official Department of Treasury seal on it, you'll see the letterhead, it will come in an official envelope, so it will look very real."

Sampson says he can't disclose how recipients of the letters will be selected.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.