Identity Theft & the IRS – Proving a Negative?

Identity theft is becoming a bigger problem every day. Even I have suffered at the hands of identity thieves. A few years back, someone acquired all of my personal information down to my mother's maiden name. They then used that information to open up a credit line with Dell Computers. They then ordered $8000 worth of computer equipment and had it shipped to public housing projects throughout the Bronx, New York. Never mind I had never even been to New York at the time of this event. (I have since, great place to visit).

I called everyone I could think of. Of course, Dell thought I was a crook. I called the Tampa Police Department, the New York Police Department, the FBI, and the Secret Service. It was actually the FBI agent that was the most helpful. But even he said there was nothing that he could do. It took me something like six months to get my credit straightened out.

When someone steals your identity and files documents including tax returns with the government, it's even worse! Over the years, we've had lots of cases where the parents of young children aren't married and someone races down to the local quick tax refund joint and files a return claiming the baby. The irate parent ends up in my office and I get to explain that it's a civil matter that they should raise in the family court. What's happening lately is different. Much different. For some unknown reason, Tampa, Florida seems to be the epicenter or tax ID fraud throughout the country. Thieves are stealing thousands of Social Security Numbers; filing false tax returns; and reaping the benefit of hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax refunds! It is happening across the country and of course, the IRS is slow to act, if you can get them to act at all.

Officially, the IRS address this all at their website. What you need to do is download IRS form 14039 and wait……..eventually, maybe, possibly, they might get it worked out for you. You see, you have the burden of proving that you didn't file the false return. Unfair but true. Contact your Congressman if you have such a problem and complain LOUDLY! Maybe if enough people do so, something more constructive will be done about this chronic problem. In the meantime, we will keep plugging away at the ID theft cases that we have here in the office.

The other day WFLA Newschannel 8 came out and put me on camera briefly discussing the IRS ID Theft situation and what can and should be done about it.


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