Imagine this: It’s tax season and after sorting through a morass of paper and electronic files, you are ready to file. Calculations show that you are entitled to a refund check. With high hopes, you submit the tax returns online. Unfortunately, word comes back from the IRS that someone else has assumed your identity and has not only already filed your taxes but has also pocketed the highly anticipated refund. The internet savvy criminals requested that the check be mailed to a different address.
This unfortunate scenario played out for five households in town this year. In each case, the victims notified the IRS as well as the New Castle Police Department.
This scam, in which criminals fabricate the necessary forms including W2s, is nationwide. Detective Officer James Wilson of the New Castle Police Department related that this is another form of identity fraud, seen most recently in town in the form of scams targeted at seniors. Wilson offered this advice: “File your taxes early.” In each of the five cases, the victims had tarried after receiving the requisite documentation. During this time, criminals are on the prowl, looking for easy targets.
Wilson noted that the best way to thwart all types of identity theft is to avoid divulging personal information. “People shouldn’t relate their social security number unless they absolutely have to,” he noted.