Consumer Report: Tax time is here and scam artists are on the prowl

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Tax Time is here, and when there's money to be had, there are scam artists. There is one scam that is costing every one of us.

Bob spoke with us, but doesn't want his identity revealed while he discusses suspicious activity linked to a muli-billion dollar scam.

This scam begins with the theft of social security numbers belonging to residents of Puerto Rico, and it ends with major theft from the US Treasury.

An undercover agent spoke with us about the situation. He told us, "Puerto Ricans generally do NOT file federal income tax returns, but they are issued Social Security numbers, so the fraudsters will steal the SS numbers, dates of births and bring them up here to the United States to file federal income tax return checks."

These conmen direct the IRS to send the refund checks to an address of someone they know or to easily accessible mailboxes like the one at Bob's house.

Bob said he got some strange mail. It was a tax return that he knew he shouldn't be receiving. He wrote the sender and took the mail to the post office. Bob says, "I thought it was strange, because it came in September."

Inspectors say Bob did the right thing, and our undercover agent says, "We've intercepted billions of dollars in fraudulent federal tax return checks."

Inspectors also say they have done surveillance and undercover sting operations to arrest people in this scheme.

They say the most important thing is to do what Bob did. Our undercover agent says, "We want our postal customers to inform us if they have received such type of checks in their mailbox."

So if you do receive a check that you shouldn't be receiving report it as soon as possible and take it to the post office.

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