Recently Charlton Escarmant of Miami, Florida was convicted of fraud and identity theft charges and sentenced to prison for a term of at least seven years. Escarmant stole names and Social Security numbers of more than 3,200 people from the Tallahassee Community College and used that information to file phony tax returns using this information. In the phony federal income tax returns he claimed that he was a veterinarian working at the Central Broward Animal Hospital. He created phony W-2s from the Central Broward Animal Hospital despite the fact that he had never worked there. All in all, he filed about 400 fraudulent tax returns seeking more than 3 million dollars in tax refunds.
I have written often about the dangers of income tax identity theft. You can find out more about this by going to the Scamicide archives which can be accessed at the top right hand corner of this page. You also can find more detailed information in my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.” If you are a victim of identity theft, it can tremendously delay your ability to receive your own legitimate income tax refund. Along with protecting the privacy of your name and Social Security number, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from this type of identity theft is to file your income tax return early before an identity thief can beat you to the punch.