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Fake Tax Returns On The Rise In Indiana

Last updated on Wednesday, April 4, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - More Hoosiers are learning their identity has been stolen by criminals filing fake tax returns.

Erin Murphy, with WISH TV, says this is a story we've been following for weeks, as several people have told police others were getting tax refunds using their identities. Now, the Indiana attorney general is taking notice.

"By the time you file your tax return, they claim you're already filed one. That's your first notice that someone has used your name and Social Security number," Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

Fake tax returns are a problem on the rise in Indiana, Zoeller said. So far in 2012, his office has received 20 complaints from victims. Last year up until this time, the office had received only two complaints, with a total of 19 for the entire year of 2011.

"We do remind people to be very sensitive with their personal information and the identifiers of their Social Security number, date of birth, so it is good to be on guard. A lot of it might be there's a lot of money coming back, and people recognize where the money is," Zoeller said.

He also warned people that if they're a victim, this might not be the first time. They need to do their homework and use the resources of the attorney general's office, he said.

"They've already filled out an application for a Visa or a MasterCard, they've already run up debts on that, and they try to file a tax return to get those funds," Zoeller said of the typical ID thief.

If you're a victim, file a police report and contact the attorney general's office . On their website there is a tool for identity theft victims , along with information on how to prevent ID theft. The office will also connect you to the Department of Revenue, which handles fraudulent tax return cases. Zoeller assured victims that once their case is investigated, they can file their tax return and claim their refund.

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