Scammers Steal Man’s Identity, File His Taxes

April 2, 2008

A man in York, Maine received his tax refund check for $5,666 a couple weeks ago, but he wasn’t happy about it. He hadn’t even done his taxes yet.

It turns out scammers, who had stolen the man’s identity earlier in 2007, had done his taxes online, instructing H&R Block to forward the refund check to their bank in Utah. That’s where the scheme went awry: the bank refused to deposit the check since it didn’t match the name on the account.

The IRS spokesperson outlined some of their identity theft precautions:

In order to prevent such problems, she said, the IRS matches Social Security numbers and names and keeps an eye out for multiple returns filed by the same person.

“The name and the Social Security number must have matched in our database, which means (the identity thieves) likely had them,” Riley said.

Riley said that while such returns are fairly rare, scams aimed at getting personal information are extremely prevalent. She cautioned against giving out information in response to e-mails purportedly from the IRS, as the agency does not typically correspond with [individuals] over the Internet, and said citizens should exercise caution anytime they transfer such information.

Hat tip: Neal Boortz Nuze.

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