Identity thieves target Maine doctors and nurses

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Identity thieves target Maine doctors and nurses story image

CAPE ELIZABETH (WGME) - A CBS 13 investigation discovers Maine doctors and nurses are the target of a tax identity theft scheme this tax season. When they go to file their taxes, they're finding an identity thief beat them to it.

While reviewing police reports and taking with victims, we found the similarity in many of the cases in Maine and across the country is that the victims are medical professionals.  The Internal Revenue Service says it doesn't yet know the magnitude of this identity theft scam, but it's a top concern this tax season.

Retired nurse Nancy Johnson learned her identity had been stolen when she went to electronically file her tax return, and it was rejected. Police and the IRS say someone used her social security number in order to get her tax refund. The IRS says it's seen a significant increase in this kind of refund fraud as e-filing becomes more popular.

Johnson was a nurse at Maine Medical Center for 25 years. Cape Elizabeth police confirmed to CBS 13 News what they told Johnson.

"He said they're having real problems with doctors and nurses who work at the Medical Center. That seems to be where they've attached a priority," Johnson said.

"We're aware of several physicians that this has happened to. We've also seen reports in other states," Maine Medical spokesman Matt Paul told us on the phone.

"We're conducting our own internal investigation and cooperating with the external investigation. But we haven't found anything that ties this to Maine Medical Center," Paul said.

Peggy Riley with the IRS says these kinds of cases are among the agency's biggest challenge, and it's important to contact the agency right away. Still, it can take as long as 6 months to resolve this kind of case.

The IRS says it doesn't have ID theft numbers by state but reports in the past 4 years, this has happened to more than 500,000 taxpayers.

If you've been targeted this tax season, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245.

More information is available at IRS.gov:

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection-Tips

Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft -- http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft

Identity thieves target Maine doctors and nurses
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