Scammers are filing fraudulent income taxes and stealing refunds. The key to the crime? Stolen Social Security numbers.
A Westchester County woman, who asked to remain anonymous, went to electronically file her taxes, but a criminal beat her to it.
She said her longtime tax preparer told her, “‘You are a victim of identity theft and your Social Security number was used to file.'”
The same thing happened to Tom D’Agostino, who said he never dreamed he would be taking a folder with his taxes in to the State Police to file a report.
“I had never heard of it to be honest with you,” he said.
The Cortlandt Manor resident joins dozens of neighbors who, since Friday, all filed similar reports.
Consumer advocates and federal investigators said this is how it works: A fraudulent tax return is created using someone else’s stolen Social Security number. Then it’s filed electronically.
It can be done without W-2 forms from employers. Instead, scammers use an electronic filing identification number. The money then goes to a bank card, sometimes a prepaid “Green Dot” one. And criminals get the refund.
The IRS warns to guard personal information more aggressively, but many times that’s easier said than done.
Criminals can buy data from unscrupulous workers at places we trust, including schools, hospitals, medical offices, and military bases.
Read more at CBS NEW YORK.