FraudJournal Blog

April 10, 2013

Stealing From the Dead – Time for Change?

Filed under: Uncategorized — fraudjournal @ 1:04 PM

The Annual ID Theft Season

Tis the season to file  your taxes – Hooray. Just kidding. Most of us try hard to avoid this process until the last-minute. This year, Congress took so much time to act that the IRS had to actually rewrite forms, software codes and delay the initial processing of tax returns. This in turn resulted in tax preparers becoming challenged to meet the deadline of April 15th after having lost nearly a month of preparation time; not to mention the allowed delay of brokerages and financial institutions to get out their documents to their clients.

So what has this to do with “stealing from the dead” you ask? If you ask any Enrolled Agent (EA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) preparing the annual tax return, they will roll their eyes and become flush with anger that the social security numbers of deceased clients are available to the public for ten dollars from the Social Security Administration.

An Attempt to Stop Fraud Begets Fraud

Unfortunately, what was started to help fight identity fraud has resulted in aiding and abetting fraud. Fraudsters, who seem to hold a wealth of creative talent, have realized that for a nominal fee they can get the social security number of recently deceased individuals, file a fraudulent tax return with a sizable refund and then disappear. Once the spouse or family get around to filing the return, the IRS is unable to honor the second, albeit true taxpayer, the refund of taxes paid. The return is processed but without the final step of refund money. And this happens each year and has become a growing problem. It will take an act of Congress, literally, to change this process and you can help. Contact your representatives and congressional representatives to enact the removal of this easily accessible master list from the general public. Sound off!  Make it a grass-roots action!

Here are some links to review for more information.



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    • Thank you for taking time to send me a note, how kind of you. Good luck on your presentation. I suggest you talk to any enrolled agent or tax preparer; they’ll share their experience of ID theft through this issue.

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