Fidelia Negenebor was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in California on nine counts of fraud and identity theft involving a multimillion dollar tax identity theft scam in which he is alleged to have stolen the identities of more than 300 victims and received almost 3.5 million dollars in refund checks from the IRS for fraudulent income tax returns he filed. According to federal attorneys, Negenebor used stolen names and Social Security numbers to electronically file phony income tax returns with fake w-2s and 1099s in order to receive refunds to which he was not entitled by the IRS. One refund, in and of itself was for more than a million dollars. Negenebor was arrested at the Newark , New Jersey airport attempting to flee the country.
Income tax identity theft remains a huge problem for everyone and it is not just a problem of the federal government. If your name and Social Security number have been compromised in an income tax identity theft scam, it will be a long and difficult process to clear your name and get your legitimately owed refund back. Filing your income tax returns early is a good defense against income tax identity theft because if the identity thief manages to file an income tax return using your Social Security number before you do, there is a high probability that the IRS will pay the identity thief and delay your own refund when you file your proper income tax return. One reason that the IRS is victimized so often in regard to income tax identity theft is because they do not match W-2s and 1099s filed with income tax returns with those filed by employers, banks, mutual funds and others until months after people have filed their returns. The simple step of matching the W-2s and 1099s at the time that income tax returns are filed would go a long way toward resolving this problem, but the IRS still has not figured that out. For much more information about income tax identity theft and what you can do to protect yourself from it, go to the archives of Scamicide at the top right hand corner of this page or check out my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”