Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Widespread

Friday, June 14th, 2013 @ 11:07PM

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Carolina Journal News Reports

Durham scheme reaches several states, also federal returns

By Don Carrington

Apr. 29th, 2013 DURHAM — A stolen-identity tax refund scheme uncovered by a Durham retiree in March apparently is so widespread that one federal official has described it as the “No. 1 tax scam for 2013.”

It’s called SIRF, stolen identity refund fraud, and it affects an untold number of innocent taxpayers, costing the federal government billions. It relies on two weaknesses in the operations of the Internal Revenue Service: its desire to get returns to taxpayers quickly, and a timing gap in how it deals with employees and employers.

In short, criminals file fake tax returns in the name of a taxpayer, but do it before the real taxpayer gets around to it. Then, the IRS, in an effort to provide good service, sends a refund check to the criminal before it learns from employers if the refund actually is warranted.

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