Identity Thieves Stole $4 Million in Tax Refunds
The thieves filed more than 1,900 fraudulent tax returns, directing refunds to more than 170 bank accounts.
A group of identity thieves stole approximately $4 million by filing fake tax returns, according to a 74-count indictment recently unsealed in Arizona.
"The thieves operated their scheme for at least three years from January 2005 to April 2008, allegedly filing more than 1,900 fraudulent tax returns involving about $4 million in refunds directed to more than 170 bank accounts," writes Threat Level's Kim Zetter. "The conspirators used numerous fake IDs to open Internet and phone accounts, and also used more than 175 different IP addresses around the United States to file the fake returns, which were often filed in bulk as if through an automated process."
"The scam took advantage of the IRS quick turnaround in processing refunds for electronically filed returns," Zetter writes. "The IRS typically processes a refund request without verifying the taxpayers information -- such as whether the taxpayer is alive -- or confirming that the taxpayer is legitimately owed money. The crooks just needed names and Social Security numbers of victims, which they acquired from various sources, and a companys name and tax-ID number to list as an employer."
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