LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- News 3 takes a close look at tax refund fraud. The IRS is investigating more and more of these cases. In this report, News 3’s Marie Mortera learned who these scammers ar,e and what you can do to keep your identity safe.
IRS Special Agent Sam Holland describes the devious world of refund fraud -- where tax refunds are stolen by identity thieves.
In 2009 and 2010, Joseph Austin of North Las Vegas got his hands on information from a tax preparer. He filed for at least a dozen refunds -- worth tens of thousands of dollars.
While he took a plea deal last year, Holland says not all crooks willingly admit to their crimes. They’re hardened criminals and former drug dealers, and this is an easier way to get money.
Earlier this month, we told you about identity thieves who filed false claims to get money from the BP oil spill.
Postal inspectors say scammers got the information the needed from medical centers. One woman spoke out for her physically impaired sister:
“Leslie called one day saying someone had taken her identity and accused her of doing things she hadn’t done,” said fraud victim's sister Laine Silverfield.
While the IRS has created teams and filters to find scammers, you can also take steps to protect yourself. One tip: when asked for your social security number, date of birth, address and so on, don't be afraid to ask about safe guards.
“You need it, you need it but what are you doing to safeguard it?” she said.