Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, criminals are filing phony electronic tax forms to claim refunds, exploiting a slow-moving federal bureaucracy to collect the money before victims, or the Internal Revenue Service, discover the fraud. Bruce Parton of Florida , a victim of one such scheme, was shot to death on his daily mail route in December 2010 by members of an identity theft ring who stole his master key as part of a scheme to claim fraudulent tax refunds. These tax schemes have ballooned into an extremely large illegal industry that could cost the U.S. $21 billion over the next five years, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Jacksonville Identity theft is a form of theft in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person’s identity, typically in order to access resources or gain some benefit that could be given to the person’s name; in this case, tax returns. The victim of the identity theft (the person whose identity has been assumed by the thief) can suffer serious penalties if they are wrongfully held accountable for the perpetrator’s actions.
The IRS realizes that the average citizen is not out to commit fraud against the U.S. However, the IRS is still vigilant and monitors those citizens exhibiting certain financial characteristics, such as:
– failure to cooperate with taxing authorities
– engaging, concealing, or hiding illegal activities
– hiding assets
– understating income
– failing to file tax returns
– dealing in cash
However, as the ease of completion increases, the type of individual changes, and amount of individuals participating in the crime itself, making criminal enterprises susceptible to this type of crime. In many of these cases, the police have found multiple suspects camped out for weeks in hotels smoking marijuana and using laptops to file fraudulent tax returns on Turbo Tax or other tax preparation software, using unsuspecting citizens’ names and confidential personal information, multiple re-loadable debit cards, having lists of hundreds of financial transactions.
Identity thieves sometimes impersonate dead people, using personal information obtained from death notices, gravestones and other sources to exploit delays between the death and the closure of the person’s accounts, the inattentiveness of grieving families and weaknesses in the processes for credit-checking. Such crimes may continue for some time until the deceased’s families or the authorities notice and react to anomalies.
To protect oneself and one’s family against tax-identity theft, individuals are advised the following:
– Do not routinely carry one’s Social Security card or other documents that display one’s SSN unless necessary, as many tax identity fraud cases can start from a purse snatching.
– Only use secure websites (https://) while making online financial transactions (thieves access information one provides to an unsecured Internet site).
– Keep one’s personal information personal. One should not disclose one’s Social Security Information or other important personal information on the phone, fax or on social media platforms
– Shred or burn all tax related documents after tax time is over and keep the necessary ones in a safe (thieves can and will look through the trash)
One has one choice of relief in a situation like this. One charged with a crime of this nature should contact an experienced Jacksonville drug crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected. One can either sit back and wait for the Judge to render a decision against one, or one can take charge of one’s defense and win one’s cause for freedom.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Florida hit by “tsunami” of tax identity fraud, David Adams, Yahoo News