Be careful who you trust with your Social Security number and other tax information. A Rhode Island tax preparer named Evelyn Nunez is headed to prison after she was convicted of stealing personal information from tax returns and selling it to scammers. Worse yet, she was stealing and selling the social security numbers of children who might not figure out the scam for years.
Investigators say Nunez stole identifying information of minor dependents on legitimate tax returns prepared by her company, NBP Multiservices in Cranston, and sold it to other tax filers for them to use to increase their refunds.
According to law enforcement, the scam cost the IRS and the state about $1.4 million. Nunez is now headed to prison for 30 months and also has to pay back the $1.4 million to the state and IRS.
This isn't an isolated incident. TurboTax recently had to shut down state tax return filings temporarily after several states spotted attempts to submit fraudulent returns. It looks like criminals were using stolen Social Security numbers to file returns through TurboTax, so they could claim refunds.
If a scammer manages to steal Social Security numbers and other identifying information belonging to you or your kids, they can use it to file fraudulent returns on your behalf. Clearing that mess up with the IRS isn't impossible, but it also isn't easy.
That's why I suggest that all of my readers purchase identity theft protection.