There have been three cases so far in Cedartown where residents filed tax returns, some through an accountant and others on their own, only to get an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) letter rejecting the return because it had already been filed and the refund sent.
Lt. Craig Payton said these cases have the local department working with the IRS to track down the culprits.
“Sometimes, it’s out of our jurisdiction because taxes can be filed from anywhere,” Payton said.
For example, someone in Colorado can use a Social Security number stolen from a Cedartown resident to file taxes on line. That makes the case a federal case rather than a local matter, he said.
However, Payton said local investigators do what they can.
“A lot of cases, we will actually aid the IRS fraud unit,” he said, adding that, while the federal agency has the lead in the probe, it’s local law enforcement that can track down a lot of details with information from the victim.
Payton said Cedartown investigators have worked with the Georgia Department of Labor to pull work histories and trace how and where the stolen Social Security numbers are being used.
All of that information is then passed on to the IRS for further investigation, he said.
Payton said all hope isn’t lost for identity theft victims dealing with the IRS. The IRS fraud unit specifically deals with the cases in order for victims to not be further penalized and to recover federal money stolen with the identities.
He said the first thing to do if you find someone else has filed a false return using your information is to call the local police department and file a report. Then call the IRS fraud unit and report it immediately.
Payton said the CPD has phone numbers and other information at the IRS for victims and always connects victims with the fraud department once a report has been filed.