The Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department has opened 82 cases since 2013 from taxpayers who are victims of identity theft.
“2013 was the year we took a step back and said whoa, this is getting to be a pattern,” said Letcher County Sheriff ’s Deputy Eugene Slone. “Before that identity theft was just credit card theft. Now, a large percentage of it is IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and they do their own investigations.”
In 2013, out of 170 cases opened by the sheriff ’s department, 28 were identity theft cases. Thirty-six out of 234 cases in 2014 fall under identity theft. So far in 2015, the sheriff ’s department has received 18 complaints of identity theft.
“If you get a letter in the mail saying that someone else has used your identity to file a federal income tax return, they request that you file a law enforcement report,” said Slone. “Even people who haven’t filed tax returns in years are getting those letters wanting them to verify their identity because someone had attempted to use their Social Security number.”
The victim then calls the IRS, Slone said, notifying the IRS of the letter received.
“IRS sends an identity theft affidavit in the mail,” said Slone.
The victim is instructed to mail the affidavit along with the police report to the IRS.
“You mail it in and never hear from them,” said Slone. “Every case I’ve gotten, I’ve had to close. I’ll leave it open for a month or two to see if they have heard back from the IRS.”
After victims notify Slone that the IRS hasn’t responded to the victim, Slone will document in the case files that all information has been forwarded to the IRS.
“They require us to open up a case, but at the same time they won’t call you back,” he said.
Slone said he doesn’t know of anyone who has had this type of identity theft happen to them twice.
Slone’s advice is for taxpayers to file returns early.
“File yours as soon as you can file it to keep that person from filing on your behalf,” said Slone.