Identity Theft Victims Complain: Tax Refunds Sent to Impostors--again!

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According to the Sun Sentinel, more than 70 victims contacted the Florida newspaper just last week describing nightmare scenarios involving months or years spent trying to clear their names after learning their tax refunds were sent to fraudsters. Each victim blames the IRS for missing obvious red-flags that should have set off enough alarms to stop the fraud in its tracks. The number of complaints is raising serious questions about lax procedures at the IRS. (See Video & Updates below)

The latest taxpayer complaints to the Sun Sentinel come right behind the news of hundreds of fire and police officials in Florida who discovered their tax refunds were hi-jacked by crafty crooks too.  When several of the officers tried to file their taxes, they discovered someone had beaten them to the punch.

 In case after case, the IRS sent refunds to imposters whose addresses that did not match those of the real taxpayer or did not exist, returns that were filed in the names of the dead and amounts claimed that were  not consistent with previously reported income.  The IRS even sent refunds to impostors after taxpayers had contacted the agency to have their files noted that their identities had been stolen.

Eugenia Sidel, a teacher at Hallandale Adult Community Center, was victimized for a second year in a row;

"Even though the IRS said my name would be red-flagged and there should be no reason for it to happen again, it did."

That's what happened to Angela Birch. Angella has lived in the same house for 23 years and worked for the same company for 21 years, yet the IRS twice sent bogus refunds to addresses that weren't hers. Even after her account was flagged for tax refund fraud last year, she's now finds herself back in the same nightmare. A thief filed a return in her name on Jan. 29;

"I hadn't even got my W-2.  It's just a nightmare. You can't believe how many birth certificates and this and that I've sent to them to prove my identity.''

Jackie Ross' husband died in July and someone filed a fraudulent tax return using his name and SSN;

"I was just really floored,'' she said. "All these months he's been deceased, how come it didn't come up?''

Miami resident Jennifer Fernandez, who also recently lost her husband reported that her refund is tied up because someone had filed a return in her husband's name:

"I'm still living in the same house as the last three years,'' she said. "There's a lot of things that they could have looked into.''

And the list continues to grow...

See below video and find more info on this story in the Florida Sun Sentinel 


For additional stories on identity theft, and more info on tax refund fraud, be sure to read a few earlier blogs;

Inmates file fraudulent tax refunds (INVESTIGATIVE VIDEO REPORT):

Tax related identity theft

Better file your income tax before an ID thief does.

UPDATE: ID Theft Victims tell Senate Panel Harrowing Tales

From the WSJ: 

Since 2008, the IRS has identified about 470,000 incidents of identity theft affecting more than 390,000 taxpayers, Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday.

The problem appears to be expanding rapidly. Many of the cases involve scammers using stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent returns in hopes of getting a quick refund check. But some cases also involve people using fake Social Security numbers for work, resulting in unexpected reported income for the real Social Security number holder. MORE

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