A Chesterfield resident attempting to file their taxes this year recently received a shock after discovering that an identity thief had already used their social security number to complete the return.
This tax time scam is becoming a growing problem in the U.S. and involves snagging a social security number in order to file a tax return before its legitimate owners can, diverting any tax return to the criminals.
Often individuals won’t know it has happened until they try and file, only to have their electronic return rejected or to receive a letter from the IRS saying it has already been claimed, according to a recent article in Forbes.
Chesterfield Police said it’s the first reported case locally this year, but it may not be the last. In 2012, there were about five such cases. Any investigation is handled by the IRS, police said.
It’s a scam that is on the rise nationally, according to the IRS, which received nearly 450,000 cases of identity theft in 2012 and experienced a 72 percent increase in the number of returns identified as potentially fraudulent.
To find tips on protecting yourself and to learn more about what the IRS is doing to combat the problem, visit the agency’s website.