MIAMI (CBS4)- Filing taxes may already be frustrating and confusing, but now scammers are making it even worse.
“It just stunned me for a minute,” said Sam Grant, whose identity was compromised. “Who would use somebody else’s name, (their) identity?”
Grant said he discovered that someone got a hold of his name and social security number, then electronically filed a bogus tax return under his name. He said he didn’t know until he tried to file his actual return and the IRS told him that not only did he file already, but he received a hefty refund.
“I found out they had a refund,” he said. “They were getting back like $5,000.”
Grant said he did some investigating. The IRS told him the person filing under his name used the address of an abandoned home in Fort Lauderdale.
He said he was shocked when he found tax related correspondence in the mail box.
“I looked in their mail box and pull out all the mail to see if I see my name was in it,” Grant said. “I’ve seen a lot of other peoples’ names in it, but mine wasn’t there. “
Cedric Richardson from Liberty Tax Services helped Grant deal with the IRS.
They have to send in all of Grant’s tax information, proof of identity and a police report all by snail mail, and it’s a long process, which means Grant will not get his refund for months.
While Grant doesn’t know how all the theft happened, Richardson told CBS4’s Ted Scouten that consumers should always be careful about who files their taxes.
“A lot of small places, they’re there one year, they obtain a lot of information and they’re not there the next year,” warns Richardson. “What happens with that person’s information? How is it tracked? How is being it used after that?”
Consumers have to keep in mind that anyone can fall victim to identity theft scams.
For tips from the IRS on how to avoid becoming a victim, click here.