Identity theft is pretty scary right? Someone’s going around pretending to be you, with all of your personal information, and getting money any way they can. They take out loans or make fake accounts or take credit cards out under your name but where the really scary stuff begins is with tax returns.
In 2013 alone, the IRS paid out $5.8 Billion in fake refunds. $1.3 Million was paid out to one single person Carmel Linot. Linot had stolen multiple social security numbers from juveniles using a website. He then filed 1,800 false tax returns and received multiple tax refunds. Luckily, he is now being charged with identity theft, conspiracy and theft of government money.
So, what if you’re a victim of this kind of identity theft? Tax identity theft takes an average of 278 days to have your claim processed and looked into. Which is a ridiculously long time. Longer than what the IRS says it should take. They say that claims will be addressed within 180 days. 180 days is a long time for someone to have your identity and your tax return. But it gets worse.
How does something like this happen? Fraudsters are quick to the punch and y filing one before you do they can get a tax refund before you do. All they need to do this, is to have your social security number. They can easily file their own tax return with your social security number and receive a tax return. Since, a tax return has already been filed now you won’t be able to file one yourself. Instead you have to file a claim with the IRS. Then the waiting game begins, your claim needs to be processed in order to finally receive your tax return. At this point you must also recover your identity because now your social security number has been taken.
The easiest way to keep your tax return in your own hands is to file it as soon as possible. Once your tax return is filed it will be impossible for any thief to file their own and claim your tax return for themselves. Do this and you won’t ever have to worry about someone else taking your tax return.