Fayette investigates tax return scam

Fayette deputies are investigating multiple reports of a tax return scam.

Several residents have reported that when they tried to file their tax return, they were informed one already had been filed in their name. The returns also contain other sensitive taxpayer information.

The fraudulent returns have caused residents to “incur considerable time and expense by filing tax returns by mail with extensive documentation,” Sheriff Steve Kessler said in a news release. He said detectives are working to see if there’s a common link between the cases.

“Some of the individuals targeted in this scheme have used tax preparation services while others have individually filed their taxes electronically,” Kessler said. “We are attempting to determine if these individuals use the same bank(s) or other financial institutions, utilize the same physicians for their health care needs, have engaged in Internet commerce with the same business(es), have experienced the same type of computer virus or similar connections.

“If we are able to isolate one or more common areas among all of these cases, we may be able to identify the possible source where this fraud originated.”

Deputies asked for help from the IRS on the investigation because of the large number of complaints in the area. The sheriff said privacy laws prevent the IRS from sharing a lot of information with county investigators but the IRS investigators will be able to determine where the fraudulent returns were filed and where the refunds were sent.

“By working together we are hopeful that we may be able to identify the individual(s) or group(s) responsible for filing these fraudulent returns,” Kessler said.

If anyone has experienced a case similar to this, he or she may contact detectives at 304-574-4216.

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