Waiting until April to file your tax return may allow identity thieves to beat you to it. These crooks file fake returns using stolen names and Social Security numbers, along with false wage information, generating large fraudulent refunds.
“Our cases have increased by about 650 percent since 2008,” says Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, kind of the internal watchdog at the IRS. People go to her when they have a problem with their returns.
The IRS itself says the number of cases has doubled each year in recent years. And a lot of the fraud is coming out of South Florida.
It catches on like fire. It spreads like a virus. Friends tell their friends,” says Wifredo Ferrer, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
He calls this crime an epidemic. Fraudsters come from all walks of life: hospital workers, former Marines, white collar professionals and former gang members who have switched from street violence to tax fraud.
Video Tips from the IRS
If you are a victim of this type of identity theft, contact your Local Taxpayer Advocate.
If you are still not able to resolve your issue, a lawyer may be able to assist you. The Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can refer you to attorneys who are skilled at handling identity theft legal issues. Call 603-229-0002 or request a referral online.