An update on fraudulent tax returns
As you might recall, there were reports of fraudulent tax filings on behalf of Cal Lutheran employees in 2016. ITS conducted its own investigation and contracted with an external investigator who interviewed affected employees and collected pertinent information. Neither internal investigations nor the external investigation revealed a strong correlation between the breached data and Cal Lutheran. Two of the affected employees obtained copies of the tax returns fraudulently filed on their behalf. Although this could be a months-long process, we encourage all tax return victims to obtain a copy of the fraudulent return. Among other mismatches the obtained forms showed highly incorrect earnings and taxes paid information, and just as importantly included accurate information which does not exist on our systems.
Fraudulent filers gain access to your Social Security Number, name, address and employer information through a variety of means and file on your behalf before you do. In the process they claim a refund which is typically deposited into a pre-paid credit card. The perpetrator subsequently drains the funds and vanishes. When your return is subsequently filed, the IRS notifies you by letter (never by email or phone call) that someone else has already filed. With more than 50 Million California records compromised in recent years, think Target, Wellpoint (Blue Cross/Shield), UC system, etc., more and more Californians’ records are loose on the internet.
The IRS is slowing the pace of refunds this this year to catch some of these fraudulent filings when the legitimate filer submits theirs. Our recommendation is to file as early as you can.