Many tax filers discovered they were ID theft victims at tax time--even a state employee responsible for catching fraudsters wasn't immune to the epidemic of tax-related identity theft. In one case, an IRS worker stands accused of using stolen identities at tax time.
IRS employee accused of tax fraud
An Internal Revenue Service revenue officer has been charged with tax fraud and identity theft, Accounting Today reports.
Authorities say IRS employee James Brewer used stolen identities to inflate tax refunds for himself and clients of his tax preparation businesses. He is also accused of diverting part of his outside clients' refunds to himself without their knowledge. It is against IRS regulations for employees to operate outside tax preparation businesses.
Brewer, who worked in the IRS's Edison, N.J. office, was charged with multiple crimes including wire fraud, mail fraud, aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal tax returns, aggravated identity theft and perjury.
Alabama revenue official hit by tax ID theft
An employee responsible for discovering tax fraud for Alabama's Department of Revenue was the victim of tax-related identity theft, according to AL.com.
Joe Garrett discovered at work that someone had fraudulently filed both state and federal income tax returns in his name.
After investigating his own ID theft, Garrett saw that his federal refund was sent to an affiliate of a prepaid debit card issuer. About $5,000 of Garrett's $7,000 fraudulent federal refund was placed on a reloadable debit card, which he was able to cancel and recover. The other $2,000 went to an Amazon gift card that was unrecoverable.
Garrett was able to submit his own legitimate returns.
Elderly couple discovers their refund was claimed
When a Connecticut couple went to file taxes at an AARP seminar at the library, they discovered someone else had stolen their tax refund, Fox CT reports.
Anne Marie Oddo wasn't aware that her identity had been stolen until she and her husband Leo were told they couldn't receive their $2,800 because someone else had already claimed it.
Police have yet to find the identity thief, but Leo Oddo believes it is related to a data breach reported by the couple's health-insurance provider.
Kansas woman victim of forged tax return
A woman in Kansas who had yet to file her tax return learned she was the victim of identity theft after receiving a notice from the IRS asking for more details about her tax return, according to the Lawrence Journal-World.
Nancy Hause was asked by the IRS's Identity Verification Service for more personal information to process her 2014 tax return. Hause initially thought the request was an attempt to defraud her, since she hadn't filed her return. However, it was a legitimate request from the IRS that is standard when a suspicious tax return has been filed.
The IRS will reject the forged return, now that Hause has confirmed she was the victim of identity theft. Authorities have not yet found the person responsible for the bogus tax return.