The Internal Revenue Service has added new protections to its Income Verification Express Service to curb identity theft.

The IVES program verifies the income of taxpayers for lenders and mortgage companies, who are prescreened. The new protections are part of the IRS’s efforts to improve its authentication of taxpayers and avoid identity theft and tax fraud.

The IRS said it is sharing information about the new requirements with participants in the program, which has been around since 2006. However, the IRS said it is seeing some signs of suspicious activity and is taking the step out of an “abundance of caution.”

“While the IRS has concerns about limited areas in the program, these center on suspicious activity and customer validation issues,” said the IRS in a news release. “At issue is whether all IVES participants are always fully validating their clients, a situation we are currently investigating.”

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