Identity thieves target tax returns to rip off refunds - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Identity thieves target tax returns to rip off refunds

Posted: Updated:
SHOREHAM, Vt. -

"I have some concerns about what is going to happen in the future," said Frank Growney of Shoreham.

For non-experts, filing your taxes can be confusing. And when Frank Growney went to file his 2011 taxes, he ran into unexpected problems.

"It was rejected, which surprised me. I tried two or three times, in matter of fact, I couldn't figure out it was rejected. But it kept coming up with the same error code, which indicated there was already a return with my ID," Growney said.

He was told by the Internal Revenue Service it was mostly likely a computer error, but just in case, to file a fraud complaint. A year and multiple fraud complaints later, Growney says he finally heard from the IRS. But it wasn't the news he was hoping for.

"Just a few days ago, I got a confirmation from them that indeed my identity had been stolen," he said.

Someone else had gotten a hold of his personal information and filed Growney's taxes, and reaped the benefits of over $7,000 in tax returns.

"It is something that we haven't seen a lot of. As a matter of fact, I can't recall getting a complaint like this. So, I am hoping this is not something that is going to start taking place a great deal," Vt. State Police Sgt. James Hogan said.

Although Growney's case is unusual, he isn't the only one. In 2010, the IRS initiated over 200 investigations of fraudulent tax returns. In just a few years, that number has tripled. And these tax return bandits are not stopping at the grave.

"We also see it if there is a deceased taxpayer, they will basically prepare a return as if it was them, and then they will get money back before the family members realize what is happening," said T.J. Sabotka, a certified public accountant.

Sabotka says the ability to file taxes online has made it easier for this type of fraud to happen. The IRS is currently collaborating with financial institutes and law enforcement agencies across the nation to help cut down on this crime.

"I'm hoping that will be the end of it," Growney said. "Time will tell."

Although Growney's real tax return would have been significantly lower than $7,000, the CPA says if the IRS owes you a refund, they usually will stick to that promise. But when a victim will see their rightful refund is unknown.

With online filing, you can only submit your taxes once, so the sooner you do it, the less a chance a thief can beat you to it. And, as with all identity theft, the IRS recommends being vigilant with credit cards and bank accounts, and to only give out your Social Security number when absolutely necessary.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Books over Breakfast : Monster Feet Sue's Deep Sea Adventure

    Books over Breakfast : Monster Feet Sue's Deep Sea Adventure

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-04-23 11:45:44 GMT
    Author Angie Harris and her niece 7-year-old Kelsey More discuss the book : Monster Feet Sue's Deep Sea Adventure.More >>
    Author Angie Harris and her niece 7-year-old Kelsey More discuss the book : Monster Feet Sue's Deep Sea Adventure.More >>
  • Officer involved shooting in Bennington Police Dept.

    Officer involved shooting in Bennington Police Dept.

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:22:02 GMT
    Police say there has been an officer involved shooting inside the Bennington Police Department. It happened just before 9 Tuesday evening. Authorities are releasing very few details. But say the Bennington Police Chief has called in the Vermont State Police to investigate after an officer allegedly shot a man in the lobby of the police station. No word yet on what prompted the shooting. The injured man was taken to a hospital. Police would not comment on the severity of his injuries. Initial ...More >>
    Police say there has been an officer involved shooting inside the Bennington Police Department. It happened just before 9 Tuesday evening. Authorities are releasing very few details. But say the Bennington Police Chief has called in the Vermont State Police to investigate after an officer allegedly shot a man in the lobby of the police station. No word yet on what prompted the shooting. The injured man was taken to a hospital. Police would not comment on the severity of his injuries. Initial ...More >>
  • Champlain College housing plans put on hold

    Champlain College housing plans put on hold

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:22:42 GMT
    It's a fight that's pitting Champlain College against the Queen City. The school says it's not giving up on building more student housing, even after being denied land-use permits. Years ago, the college made a commitment to create housing for all students but that goal has hit a snag, with their recent construction plans on hold.The project would create more than 300 beds for Champlain students on St. Paul Street, but the Development Review Board denied the permits the college needed based o...More >>
    It's a fight that's pitting Champlain College against the Queen City. The school says it's not giving up on building more student housing, even after being denied land-use permits. Years ago, the college made a commitment to create housing for all students but that goal has hit a snag, with their recent construction plans on hold.The project would create more than 300 beds for Champlain students on St. Paul Street, but the Development Review Board denied the permits the college needed based o...More >>
  • Burlington school budget on it's way back to voters

    Burlington school budget on it's way back to voters

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:56:59 GMT
    A new Burlington school budget is on its way to voters that is more expensive and has more cuts than the last version.The board of finance approved a $67.6 million budget. On Town Meeting Day voters shot down a budget that was about a million dollars less than this new budget. After a recent audit that uncovered a $2.5 million dollar deficit, the board was forced to slash $2.5 million in programming and staff. School board chair Patrick Halladay acknowledges concerns about a larger budget wit...More >>
    A new Burlington school budget is on its way to voters that is more expensive and has more cuts than the last version.The board of finance approved a $67.6 million budget. On Town Meeting Day voters shot down a budget that was about a million dollars less than this new budget. After a recent audit that uncovered a $2.5 million dollar deficit, the board was forced to slash $2.5 million in programming and staff. School board chair Patrick Halladay acknowledges concerns about a larger budget wit...More >>
  • Amphibians on the move

    Amphibians on the move

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:09 GMT
    People across the state are helping out their amphibian friends on the move. Biologists say this annual salamander crawl happens on the first warm rainy nights of spring like Tuesday night. Over half a dozen of different critters from frogs to spotted salamanders travel to breeding grounds. But often, experts say, that means crossing busy roads which can be deadly for a large number of amphibians. But groups on Pond Road in Shelburne, are giving a helping hand to get the salamanders safely ac...More >>
    People across the state are helping out their amphibian friends on the move. Biologists say this annual salamander crawl happens on the first warm rainy nights of spring like Tuesday night. Over half a dozen of different critters from frogs to spotted salamanders travel to breeding grounds. But often, experts say, that means crossing busy roads which can be deadly for a large number of amphibians. But groups on Pond Road in Shelburne, are giving a helping hand to get the salamanders safely ac...More >>
  • Vermont man accused of identity theft

    Vermont man accused of identity theft

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:34 GMT
    A Vermont man is accused of using stolen identities in a scheme to defraud banks now faces federal charges. Prosecutors say 35-year-old Brian Wyer used identities of Ohio and Kansas residents to obtain two Vermont non-driver ID cards. He then allegedly used the fraudulent IDs to open bank accounts in Massachusetts withdrawing about $75,000. Wyer was indicted in Vermont in June and taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Illinois last month. During his arraignment Monday in Burlington the judge...More >>
    A Vermont man is accused of using stolen identities in a scheme to defraud banks now faces federal charges. Prosecutors say 35-year-old Brian Wyer used identities of Ohio and Kansas residents to obtain two Vermont non-driver ID cards. He then allegedly used the fraudulent IDs to open bank accounts in Massachusetts withdrawing about $75,000. Wyer was indicted in Vermont in June and taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Illinois last month. During his arraignment Monday in Burlington the judge...More >>
  • Rutland vandals target parking meters

    Rutland vandals target parking meters

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:55 GMT
    Police say vandals in Rutland targeted several parking meters in a quest for quick cash. 11 meter locks and 12 meter cans filled with change were damaged along Merchants Row, Center Street, Court Street, Cottage Street and Justice Square parking lot. One meter pole and its vault was also destroyed. Police put damage in excess of thousand bucks. Anyone with information is asked to call Rutland City police.More >>
    Police say vandals in Rutland targeted several parking meters in a quest for quick cash. 11 meter locks and 12 meter cans filled with change were damaged along Merchants Row, Center Street, Court Street, Cottage Street and Justice Square parking lot. One meter pole and its vault was also destroyed. Police put damage in excess of thousand bucks. Anyone with information is asked to call Rutland City police.More >>
  • Vt. principal who faced criminal charges wants clearer mandatory reporting law

    Vt. principal who faced criminal charges wants clearer mandatory reporting law

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:53:40 GMT
    A law designed to protect kids landed a Vermont school principal in hot water. Now, Danville High School Principal Noah Noyes wants lawmakers to put the state's mandatory reporting rules under the microscope.More >>
    A law designed to protect kids landed a Vermont school principal in hot water. Now, Danville High School Principal Noah Noyes wants lawmakers to put the state's mandatory reporting rules under the microscope.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.