An Identity Thief Wanted My Tax "Refund"
My tax preparer said that because I didn’t owe the IRS and the IRS didn’t owe me, I didn’t have to file a tax return this year. My tax preparer, employed by a very large and well known organization, said I need not file, so guess what? I didn’t file.
But several months later I got a letter from the IRS saying that they were holding my refund – the refund I was not supposed to get. This not only sounded odd to me but to my tax preparer as well, where after a little bit of prodding from me the company manager excused herself to her cubicle and called the IRS.
Thirty to forty-five minutes later, we were being told that yes, a fraud against the Government of the United States was in progress and my social security number was being used to facilitate it!
We were given a list of things to do in order to help the government deal with this situation. I did complain that this situation was becoming so problematic, but I was told that this was not so.
If the IRS had sent out a check, I might be embroiled in this situation for years as had another unfortunate victim who when he later got married, saw his wife pulled into the investigation as well. I was told to contact the Federal Trade Commission, the Social Security Administration, and to contact one of the major credit bureaus where contacting one caused the others to be pulled into the loop also. I chose Equifax and wound up paying $17 a month to have all my accounts monitored.
I was also told to contact the police department which caused two police officers to wind up at my door, which I felt I didn’t need nor want as I had been terrorized by the police so very many times under the guise of “Stop & Frisk” which to me was just a way for White police officers to get to fondle the genitals of Black men. I’ve seen it done to other Black men as well.
My girlfriend of 45 years was an ex-police officer and I had my cell phone turned on so she could listen in just in case there was the usual monkey business. I employed the same tactic as well when following the instructions of the two officers, I went to my local precinct to let them know about the Identity Theft now in progress. I spoke with a group of officers, including one Black female sergeant and her presence did give me some comfort.
A detective was there and he thought I should contact the IRS on my own to verify that the letter I receive was indeed valid. If it wasn’t, it might be that one of the tax preparers might be involved in the attempted fraud or the letter might be a “Phishing” attempt for information by persons unknown.
It turned out that the letter was sent by the IRS because they did suspect fraud. They said I should come into their office with all my documents so they could sort things out, which I did. They assigned me a number, and started an investigation which they said could take about six months or more due to personnel shortages and a rise in attempted frauds usually involving identity thefts.
The final instruction from the IRS was that even if I was told that I did not need to file a return, I should file anyway. Not filing opens an opportunity for someone else to step in and file. In my case, someone claiming to be my spouse amended my return in such a way that a refund was due and a mailing address, not mine, was given where the check should be sent.