1,500 Soldiers Among Tax Fraud Victims
The personal information of military members and their families is a highly sought after commodity in the criminal world. Having access to that data can give a criminal access to the pay and benefits of the military member and their dependents and more. If the recent Chinese hack of the Office of Personnel Management wasn't enough to scare you to be vigilant about checking your credit information regularly, perhaps this story from the Army Times will remind you that even when you think you are dealing with legitimate people, it is still a good idea to keep close track of any activity on your credit reports and banking information.From the Army Times:Ten people — including an employee of the military hospital at Fort Benning who stole personal data of soldiers and family members — were sentenced to serve a combined 50 years in prison for their role in an extensive stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme in Georgia and Alabama.The tax fraud ring filed more than 9,000 false individual federal income tax returns that claimed more than $24 million in tax refunds. In addition to the military hospital, the tax fraud ring stole personal information of victims from several Alabama state agencies, a Georgia call center and a Georgia company. The IRS paid out nearly $10 million in refunds on those fraudulent claims, according to Justice Department officials.
Of the victims, about 1,500 were soldiers and family members who had portions of their identities stolen, according to Chris Grey, spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command. Some of those soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan during the time of the fraud, which occurred between January 2011 and December 2013.Tax refunds that were legitimately due to some soldiers were denied when their personal data was stolen and used to get a fraudulent refund. Asked if those soldiers would receive their refunds, an IRS official said that by law, the IRS cannot discuss the situation of specific taxpayers. But any taxpayer who finds himself or herself the victim of identity theft should file the required paperwork, and the IRS will work with them to make them whole, the official said.Read the rest at the Army Times[mwi-cat-listing cat="94" ppp="4" cols="4" desc="false" type="view" btn_color="black" ]