The Department of Justice recently announced the indictment of Nakeisha Hall, Jimmie Goodman and Abdulla Coleman on charges related to income tax identity theft by which the defendants are accused of filing phony federal income tax returns and receiving more than a million dollars in bogus refunds over a three year period. Hall, worked as an IRS employee ironically in the Taxpayer Advocate Service which is a section of the IRS that helps taxpayers with problems. Instead, she is accused of creating problems for taxpayers by improperly using her access to IRS computers to obtain the names and Social Security numbers of taxpayers and using that information to electronically file phony income tax returns with counterfeit W-2s to receive fraudulent refunds. The refunds were paid by way of debit cards and sent to addresses that Hall controlled. In other cases, when checks were issued for the refunds, she again had them sent to addresses controlled by her and forged the identity theft victims’ signatures to cash the checks.
Try as it may, the IRS is having a difficult time stopping income tax identity theft by which an identity thief steals your personal information and files a phony income tax return using your name and gets a refund. Along with protecting your personal information, particularly your Social Security number as much as you can, the best thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim of income tax identity theft is to file your income tax return early. Income tax identity theft can only work when the criminal is able to file an income tax return using your name and Social Security number before you file your own legitimate income tax return so consider filing as early as possible.