13 On Your Side: Social Security numbers theft
Tax time is here, and when there's money to be had, there are scam artists. News 13's Jon Chrisos is On Your Side, exposing one scheme that's costing every one of us. It starts with the theft of Social Security numbers belonging to residents of Puerto Rico. It ends with major theft from the U.S. Treasury.
Bob, a fraud victim, doesn't want his identity known as he discusses suspicious activity linked to a multi-billion dollar scam. "They asked me if I had seen or noticed anything unusual in my neighborhood,” says Bob.
A U.S. undercover agent says, "Puerto Ricans generally do not file federal income tax returns, but they are issued social security numbers, so the fraudsters will steal the SS numbers, dates of births and bring them up here to the United States to file federal income tax return checks."
The conmen direct the IRS to send the refund checks to an address of someone they know or to easily accessible mailboxes like the one at Bob's house.
"This came to my house, I had no idea who it was for and wrote return to sender right here and took it to the post office. I thought it was strange, because it came in September," says Bob.
Inspectors say they have done surveillance and undercover sting operations to arrest people in this scheme.
This scam cost all of us here in the United States $6.2 billion just last year. Taxpayers are victims in the scam, along with the victims whose ID was stolen. While it's an overseas scam right now, with tax season, the scam could keep spreading.
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