RGV Victim Speaks Out about Tax Fraud
MCALLEN – The IRS is urging taxpayers to be vigilant as tax season gets underway across the country.
A Rio Grande Valley tax fraud victim said she was cheated by an illegitimate tax preparer. She said the woman was even a family friend.
We will call the tax fraud victim Sally. We’re hiding Sally’s true identity to protect her and her family. The tax preparer still has her and her children’s social security numbers. She’s worried the tax preparer might do more damage.
“You think other people have the best intentions, it’s not necessarily so,” she said. “It’s a nightmare, it’s literally a nightmare.”
Sally said she noticed the first red flag a month after her taxes were filed. She said her more than $4,500 tax check was missing.
“So, I called her one night and she says, ‘No, don’t worry. Everything will be fine.’ The following day I called the IRS myself,” she said.
Sally said the agency’s information didn’t match what she filed with the tax preparer.
“I went back, found my paperwork and called a second time,” she said. “And it was that gentleman who said, ‘You need to get in touch with your tax preparer, because the information on file does not match the information you are giving me. I suggest you do down to your local IRS office.’”
Sally said she went to the IRS office in Harlingen to retrieve her tax transcripts. She quickly noticed the bank account and routing numbers boxes were filled in with someone else’s account other than hers.
“I called the tax preparer, advised her of what I found and she says, ‘Don’t worry, it’s because the IRS changed banks,’” she said.
Sally said she knew the preparer was lying. She filed a police report with McAllen police and spoke with a local IRS investigator soon after.
“Right now, I am in the process of having my tax returns amended,” she said.
Sally said she felt compelled to act after she was deceived.
“You know what? People need to know… I don’t believe she hasn’t done this to other people,” she said.
Sally also found out that her tax return was direct deposited to an out-of-state account opened under her name. She said the return was then wired to an unknown bank account in Edinburg.
Those accounts were then emptied and closed.
The IRS outlined the following tips so people can protect themselves against fraudulent tax preparers:
- Obtain references from those who have used the tax service in the past
- Make sure the tax preparer has a prepared tax identification number
- Be wary of tax preparers who claim to be able to get a bigger refund than others
IRS said people can file complaints against tax preparers and can report them for misconduct.