Identity Thieves Scamming U.S. Government With Fake Tax Refund Claims

identity theftIngeniously devious and glaringly simple. Lizette Alvarez reports on the latest ID theft scam for the New York Times:

Besieged by identity theft, Florida now faces a fast-spreading form of fraud so simple and lucrative that some violent criminals have traded their guns for laptops. And the target is the United States Treasury.

With nothing more than ledgers of stolen identity information — Social Security numbers and their corresponding names and birth dates — criminals have electronically filed thousands of false tax returns with made-up incomes and withholding information and have received hundreds of millions of dollars in wrongful refunds, law enforcement officials say.

The criminals, some of them former drug dealers, outwit the Internal Revenue Service by filing a return before the legitimate taxpayer files. Then the criminals receive the refund, sometimes by check but more often though a convenient but hard-to-trace prepaid debit card.

The government-approved cards, intended to help people who have no bank accounts, are widely available in many places, including tax preparation companies. Some of them are mailed, and the swindlers often provide addresses for vacant houses, even buying mailboxes for them, and then collect the refunds there.

Postal workers have been harassed, robbed and, in one case, murdered as they have made their rounds with mail trucks full of debit cards and master keys to mailboxes.

The fraud, which has spread around the country, is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually, federal and state officials say…

[continues in the New York Times]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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6 Comments on "Identity Thieves Scamming U.S. Government With Fake Tax Refund Claims"

  1. GoodDoktorBad | May 27, 2012 at 11:36 am |

    Fake lives, fake money, fake identities, fake words, fake numbers, fake history…..

    Does THIS come as a surprise? 

  2. charlieprimero | May 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

    The U.S. government uses threats of violence and fraud to take money from people.

    These operators are simply emulating the example set for them.

  3. Apathesis | May 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

    Considering this is a big problem in Florida, I wonder how many perpetrators are actually legal residents of this nation and how many crimes they have committed or been convicted of?

  4. There is no such thing as identity theft. This is a failure of an organisation to properly identify the person, the person is not the victim of the criminal, the person is the victim of weak security by the organisation.
    I smell another push for internal passports coming, this time from your favourite Uncle Tom Obama. This as hat is really trying to sneak in as much far right crap as he can on his way out, a true CIA lap dog.
    CISPA the infamous Obama whine, I’ll sign it only because those naughty Republicans are making me do it, how gullible does he think everyone remains.

  5. the IRS is a scam
    being scammed
    by retired drug addicts
    who are getting millions of scam dollars
    (though not as much as the banksters)
    kinda makes ya wonder
    unless yer the average Joe
    & then it just seems normal

  6. it’s a sign of the times as most institutions are better at punishing the good people than the bad

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