Identity theft is being conducted not only by gangs, but by seemingly unlikely people, such as store owners. A Washington D.C. barbershop owner was found guilty conducting an elaborate identity theft and tax fraud scheme. He and his accomplices stole the tax identities of deceased taxpayers, drug addicts, and others to file more than 7,000 bogus income tax returns.
The outfit would have stolen more than $20 million from the IRS in false tax refunds if their tax fraud was not busted. The scale of the entire operation is yet to be determined.
In Florida, the police found a man to be in possession of the personal information of more than 100 people while conducting regular searches. He confessed the information was to be used to file false tax returns. The police found Social Security numbers, date of birth, street addresses, email addresses, and even PIN numbers on the laptop of the accused.
Drug dealers and prison inmates are not far behind with identity theft rings. There has been a sharp increase in the number of drug dealers who have turned to identity theft and tax fraud. The simplicity in carrying out the crime can be judged from the fact that prison inmates are able to file false tax returns while incarcerated. Last year, the IRS discovered false tax refunds amounting to $1 billion filed from various prisons.
Identity theft has become an epidemic in states, such as Florida. Considering the scale of the crime, the IRS’ claims of stopping millions of false tax returns every year is of no comfort.