Anytime the government wants to give you a lot of money, that's a red flag. It alerted a Papillion couple to identity theft and it has them worried.
Cathe Molli got a huge tax refund check for a joint filing she didn't file listing a husband who is not her husband. “I looked at it and like $6,000 and who is Michael, the person on here.”
From address to Social Security number, an identity thief knew enough of Cathe's life to fool the Internal Revenue Service. “I had a sinking feeling on my chest when I looked up and I went ah, oh my gosh, that is the last four digits of my Social.”
Using Kathe's personal information, the identity thief succeeded in getting a $6,200 tax refund. “I do not want to be in trouble with the IRS.” But when an electronic deposit to an unknown bank failed, the government sent a check she turned over to her accountant and the IRS.
Though the identity thief is probably out of state or out of the country, the couple can't help but wonder if someone locally is watching their mailbox waiting for that refund check to arrive. Her husband has been focusing on the mailbox soon after delivery. “Might come in the house looking for it ‘cause he knows our address so that's kind of scary,” says Kevin Molli.
Cathe checks the couple's bank account every day in case the identity thief tries there next. “Nothing so far.”
An electronic crook used Cathe's ID to scam the IRS. “We need to be very cautious that nobody gets that check because it would tie us in deeper to something we're not a part of.” Now she's hoping federal agents can find the identity thief who filed a joint return and put him in the joint.
The IRS website says the agency has doubled the staff working on identity theft issues. This year, agents targeted nearly 400 suspects trying to cash in on phony tax refunds.