After tax deadline, identity theft victims wait for resolution - WFLA News Channel 8

After tax deadline, identity theft victims wait for resolution

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Hillsborough County Judge Robert Foster was a tax fraud victim. Hillsborough County Judge Robert Foster was a tax fraud victim.

By the time the April 15 tax deadline hit this year, Linda Snyder had already been waiting a year for her  tax refund.

Snyder, an identity theft victim, is still waiting for her 2011 refund after someone used her information to file a fake tax return, holding up her real refund for a year.

She is among thousands of victims whose personal information was stolen and used to trick the government into sending out a fraudulent refund. Snyder says the IRS should have been able to figure out the return wasn't real.

"There should be something in their system that should flag it and stop it," she said. "In this day and age with technology, there's no excuse for that."

The IRS says it's put new filters in place and this year blocked 2 million suspicious returns.

Law enforcement in the Tampa Bay area are also on the lookout for fraud.  The U.S. Postal Inspection Service intercepted 17,000 items suspected of being connected to tax refund fraud this year, down about 60 percent from the 42,000 intercepted last year.

Investigators say the drop may be a result of IRS filters working and suspects directing refund money to be sent out of state instead of to addresses in the Tampa area.

Robert Foster says he was victimized twice, once for the 2011 tax season and again for the 2012 season.

"We thought everything had been taken care of and lo and behold, I go out and file my taxes again this year and whack!" said Foster, a civil court judge in Hillsborough County.

Foster said he got help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service to resolve the 2011 issue, but the 2012 issue is still outstanding. He was expecting a refund in 2011, but not in 2012.

"It's a sense of violation more than anything," Foster said. "It's a sense of violation."

As the 2012 tax season wraps up, identity theft victims are still dealing with the fallout from cases that can take months or longer to resolve.

Proposed legislation in the U.S. House and the Senate calls for identity theft cases to be wrapped up in 90 days.

"The IRS has made great progress, but no one's satisfied, and we've got to pass some laws to keep this from happening," said Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa), who introduced the House bill.

The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

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