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Mystery Person Steals Identities, Files Joint Tax Return to Steal Family's Stimulus Money

Posted at 10:32 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 23:33:34-04

OWASSO, Okla. — A family waiting on the stimulus payment could wait much longer than expected. They found out it was stolen.

Krystle Phelps and her husband have two children. They were waiting on a $3,400 stimulus payment before Phelps found out someone stole her identity and filed her 2019 taxes.

Phelps said, “They only got a $46 tax refund because what they filed is not the amount we file.”

Her stimulus money was delivered a week ago to an account she does not recognize. One of the first calls Phelps made was to her accountant.

“When my accountant was like, ‘This just happened to the person who called me right before you and the only way to correct it is to file your taxes and let the IRS flag your account,’” Phelps said.

So, that is what she did, but waiting for the IRS to correct the issue could take up to half a year.

Phelps does not know how the scammer got her information. It could have leaked from anywhere.

Help seems scarce. IRS phone lines are closed, while data thefts from tax professionals rise.

Online, the IRS warns of cyber criminals taking advantage of COVID-19. They urge the tax community to take extra steps to secure information while they investigate. That means using security software and virtual private networks.

Phelps says she’ll reach out to 211 Eastern Oklahoma for other resources.

“Luckily, I had some savings. We’re living on that,” Phelps said. “We’ll make it halfway through May before we run out of money.”

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