No Matter How Your Identity is Stolen, It’s Not Easy Getting It Back
Long before the Internet entered our lives, identity theft and tax scamming was a scheme carried out by the criminal minded.
Getting the kind of information that allowed someone to steal an identity and file false tax returns wasn’t quite as easy as it is now. Most of the time it was the work of pickpockets and other thieves and burglars. Wallets were lost and fell into the wrong hands or they were stolen.
Some people used to carry their social security cards in their wallets. When that would happen and a thief got their hands on it that would be the equivalent of winning the lottery.
That’s what happened over a decade ago to a young Arizona man as reported in and abc.com article. The man said that in 2003 he lost his wallet with his social security card in it. Three years later in a routine traffic stop a police officer found that the man driving the car had information in his car that had the information of the man who lost his wallet on a pay slip. The man said he paid someone for the false ID information.
The man whose ID was stolen said that he was aware of at least 17 people who has been using his identity. And, according to the article, “He’s far from alone. From 2011 to 2015 Internal Treasury Department records show the IRS knew of 1.1 million employment-related identity theft victims who have never been notified.”
The victim reported that numerous people who make significant amounts of money and don’t pay their taxes have used his social security number. Of course, the IRS sends the demands for the unpaid taxes to him. Last year he said he received a tax bill for $9,609 on May 23rd, one for $11,979 on March 14th and one for $25,948 on March 2nd. The IRS has no sympathy for the victim. They’ve even seized his bank accounts.
Today Identity Theft Is Easier Than Ever
It’s no surprise that according to a recent survey reported in an article at accountingtoday.com, that more than two thirds of U.S. consumers are concerned about tax fraud and identity theft this year. And, their fears are well founded: More than one third of those surveyed reported having had their identity stolen in the past.
With cyber security is lagging behind the sophistication of cyber criminals it’s nearly impossible to prevent the problem. And we become more socially networked and dependent we connect our devices and all of our information together. Our homes, cars, phones, pads, laptops and home computers are all digitally connected giving cyber criminals even greater access to important information.
The IRS is consistently understaffed and their inability to police identity theft has been well documented internally.
According to accountingtoday.com, “In August 2016, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration published a report finding that IRS processes “are not sufficient to assist victims” of identity theft.”
It can take years to straighten out identity theft issues with the IRS. In the case mentioned above, it’s been an ongoing battle for more than a decade and there’s no end in sight. Protect your information. And for goodness sake, don’t carry your social security card in your wallet. Once it’s in the wrong hands you now have an idea of what can happen.