Archive for March, 2016

Fort Collins caregiver accuses local realtor of identity theft

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A Fort Collins woman says the realtor who hired her to take care of her disabled daughter ended up stealing her identity and cashing her paychecks.

But the realtor argues her accuser isn’t fit to be a caregiver, and so now she’s evicting her.

Dawn Johns told Denver7 that she was hired last October as a live-in caregiver to Mimi Kaimakidis’ adult daughter, who was injured in a car crash.

She said everything was fine until February, when she tried to get her W-2 forms.

“I learned that my information had been changed to her address and that there were current checks being issued for a lot more than I was ever paid.”

Kaimakidis said the agreement was that Johns’ caregiving income would be used to pay for her disabled daughter’s care, and in return, Johns would live at the daughter’s house with expenses paid.

“That’s a blatant lie,” Johns said. “I would never agree… I don’t do any type of fraud.”

Kaimakidis said Johns gave her daughter drugs and alcohol.

“When I walked in on her, the whole place was full of drugs and all these people, homeless people, walking around on drugs,” the realtor said.

Johns said she drank beer at the house, but did not give it to her patient. She also said the only drug in the house was marijuana and that she didn’t use it herself, but that Kaimakidis’ grown daughter did.

“I believe she’s able to make her own decisions,” Johns said.

The caregiver said Kaimakidis is under investigation by Adult Protective Services. She said the realtor allegedly took financial advantage of her daughter and abused her.

Johns said that after she spoke with investigators about the allegations, Kaimakidis asked her what she told them and she said, “I can’t discuss it.”

She said that’s when Kaimakidis sent her an email stating that she was no longer employed as her daughter’s caregiver and was terminated.

The realtor is now trying to evict Johns.

Johns believes she has been wrongfully terminated and plans to fight.

Kaimakidis told Denver7 that Johns is trying to blackmail her.

So far, the case remains civil in nature. No charges have been filed.

———

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Article source: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/front-range/fort-collins/fort-collins-caregiver-accuses-local-realtor-of-identity-theft

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Business Viewpoint with John Brophy: Avoiding tax-related identity theft

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

John Brophy

John Brophy

John Brophy




Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2016 12:00 am

Business Viewpoint with John Brophy: Avoiding tax-related identity theft

By JOHN L. BROPHY Business Viewpoint

TulsaWorld.com

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1 comment

Tax-related identify theft involves someone using a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund.

This is a small but growing occurrence, and if it happens to you, it can have a major impact on your financial life and delay payment of a tax refund on which you may have been depending.

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    How do you know if someone has obtained and is using your Social Security number in a tax-related identify theft? Here are some warning signs:

    • The IRS or your tax professional notifies you that more than one tax return has been filed for you based on your Social Security number.

    • The IRS or your tax professional indicates that you owe additional tax, have a refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.

    • The IRS notifies you that you received more wages than you have indicated on your return and that the wages are from an unknown employer. (Someone may have used your Social Security number to obtain a job, and those wages are now reported on your number.)

    • Your state or federal benefits are reduced or canceled because the paying agency received information reporting an income change.

    In the past, some unscrupulous tax preparers have directed client tax refunds into the tax preparer’s account. To help avoid this situation, beginning in 2015, the IRS will limit the number of direct deposit refunds to any one financial account or prepaid debit card to three.

    For any subsequent valid refunds, the IRS will prepare a paper check and mail it by post to the taxpayer. This provision may affect larger families where parents and, perhaps, minor children would like to direct tax refunds into the same financial account, so plan accordingly.

    What to do about tax-related identity theft

    If you suspect your personal information has been used fraudulently, take these steps as quickly as possible:

    • File a report with your local police department.

    • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at consumer.ftc.gov. Or call the FTC Identity Theft hot line at 877-438-4338, TTY: 866-653-4261.

    • Contact one or all three of the major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your account:

    Equifax: Equifax.com 800-525-6285

    Experian: Experian.com 888-397-374

    TransUnion: transunion.com 800-680-7289

    • Close any accounts you know have been tampered with, accessed or opened fraudulently.

    Further, if your Social Security number has been compromised and/or you suspect you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft, take these additional steps:

    • Respond immediately to any IRS notice you receive; typically there will be a number provided on the notice, which you should call as soon as possible.

    • Complete IRS Form 14039, an Identity Theft Affidavit. Fill out the form available on irs.gov and mail or fax it to either the address or number provided in the instructions.

    • Pay any taxes you owe and file your tax return. You may need to file your income tax return by paper rather than electronically.

    If you previously contacted the IRS but still have no resolution, contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.

    Be sure to record the dates on which you made phone calls or sent letters. Keep copies of all correspondence (written or electronic) in a file for your records and protection.

    John L. Brophy is senior vice president of investments for Wells Fargo Advisors in Tulsa.

    The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily the Tulsa World. To inquire about writing a Business Viewpoint column, email a short outline of the article to Business Editor Colleen Almeida Smith at business@tulsaworld.com. The column should focus on a business trend; the outlook for the city, state or an industry; or a topic of interest in an area of the writer’s expertise. Articles should not promote a business or be overly political in nature.

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      Article source: http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/businessviewpoint/business-viewpoint-with-john-brophy-avoiding-tax-related-identity-theft/article_f7796f9c-506c-50d9-a85c-bb777dd4eae8.html

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      Your Biggest IRS Nightmare: Identity Theft

      Thursday, March 31st, 2016

      Your worst taxpayer nightmare may have nothing to do with the amount of income tax you owe.

      Instead, you could find yourself a victim of the fastest growing tax scam in America — tax return identity theft.

      Here’s how it works: You fill out your federal tax return in late March or early April, and breathe a sigh of relief that your return has been sent to the IRS. Maybe you even anticipate a refund coming your way in a few weeks.

      Instead, you get a letter from the IRS saying that you’ve already filed your tax return. Not only that, a refund was issued in your name weeks ago. And your IRS account has been frozen.

      You’ve just become the latest victim of tax return identity theft, a crime that has increased by 650 percent since 2008.

      What can you do if this happens to you? Taxpayers’ rights advocate Dan Pilla says there are steps you can take to fight back, but you have to act fast. 

      Pilla talks with Pat Robertson about what to do if you’re targeted by an identity thief, on Thursday, March 31, on The 700 Club.

      Article source: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/finance/2016/March/Your-Biggest-IRS-Nightmare-Identity-Theft/

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      ‘Call Christina’ fraud alert: Tax-related ID theft prevention…

      Thursday, March 31st, 2016

      MIAMI – The IRS says tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Thieves also may use stolen Employer Identification Numbers to create false Forms W-2 to support refund fraud schemes.

      Over the past three years, IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) helped convict about 2,000 identity thieves.  According to the IRS, “The courts continue to impose significant jail time with the average months to serve in fiscal year 2015 being 38 months (and) with the longest sentencing being over 27 years.”

      TAX PREPARER FRAUD PREVENTION:

      “Whenever you are filing your taxes, you are giving out a lot of very critical information about who you are,” President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau Southeast Florida and the Caribbean Rod Davis said. “You want to be very careful about who you are giving that information to.”

      Davis tells the Call Christina team that if you are using a tax preparer it is a good idea to vet them. You can start by looking up the business on the BBB’s website.

      “See how long they have been in business,” Davis said. “This is a situation where you want to go with a trusted name and a trusted individual.”

      In a 2014 post on the Federal Trade Commission’s website, Tim Camus, deputy inspector general for investigations and treasury inspector general for tax administration, wrote: “During the past several years, my agents have investigated and worked with Department of Justice attorneys to prosecute tax preparers who sold their clients’ personal and financial information to criminals. These tax preparers abused the trust their clients placed in them to protect their sensitive information from tax-related identity theft.”

      Camus recommends taking the time to check the reputation and qualifications of a tax preparer before trusting anyone with your sensitive information.

      If you plan on working with an accountant, ask what security measures they have in place to protect your information.

      “Choose your tax return preparer carefully because you entrust them with your private financial information that needs to be protected,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Most preparers provide high-quality service, but we run across cases each year where unscrupulous preparers steal from their clients and misfile their taxes.”

      Related Link: Tips when choosing a tax preparer

      IRS IMPOSTER CALLS EMAIL SPOOFING:

      For more than a year, the Call Christina team has warned you about scammers posing as IRS agents to steal your information via phone and email.

      The IRS has tracked a 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season.

      Related Links:

      Suspected IRS imposter talks to Local 10 News’ Call Christina team

      IRS issues alert about new phishing scam targeting HR professionals

      Here’s how to spot the red flags that the person demanding your information, or your money, does not work for the IRS:

      • When you have a tax problem, the IRS will first contact you by mail, not by phone.
      • The IRS won’t threaten arrest, deportation or loss of a driver’s license. Hang up the phone immediately if someone claiming to be from the IRS unexpectedly calls and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation.
      • The IRS won’t demand that you make payment right away.
      • The IRS won’t ask you to wire money, pay with a prepaid money card, or ask you to share credit card information over the phone. 
      • Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 if you think you owe taxes or need help with a payment issue.

      CYBER TAX FRAUD: THE NEW FRONTIER

      The IRS created a new cybercrime unit with the aim of stopping hackers from snatching your refund.

      Just last month, they stopped an automated attack on its e-file pin system.

      The top three ways to protect yourself from tax-refund fraud:

      1. Don’t give out your personal information to someone demanding information via phone or email. Call the IRS directly if you have a question.
      2.  If filing electronically, use a strong password.
      3. Skip the public free Wi-Fi when filing. That is where criminals often lurk to intercept and steal information. Instead, make sure you are filing from a properly secured password-protected network.

      “You want to do a good virus scan on your computer to make sure it is clean,” Davis said. “Watch your bank accounts around this time. Make sure that you don’t see anything unusual, atypical. If you do a credit freeze, if someone does hack your information, the damage they can do is a lot less.”

       

      Copyright 2016 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.

      Article source: http://www.local10.com/web/wplg/consumer/call-christina/call-christina-fraud-alert-tax-related-id-theft-prevention-tips

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      IRS Commissioner Details Growing Problem Of Taxpayer Identity Theft

      Thursday, March 31st, 2016

      NPR’s Audie Cornish speaks with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about the state of e-tax hacks.

      Article source: http://www.npr.org/2016/03/30/472442304/irs-commissioner-details-growing-problem-of-taxpayer-identity-theft

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      Four men charged with identity theft, credit card fraud in Niles, Morton Grove incidents

      Thursday, March 31st, 2016

      Morton Grove Police arrested four men in connection with an identity theft ring that targeted the mayor of northwest suburban Crystal Lake and another victim from the Chicago area, according to police.

      Morton Grove Police Commander Paul Yaras said the four men were carrying out a plan to open fraudulent lines of credit to buy expensive home improvement tools prior to their arrest March 5 at the Menards store in Morton Grove, where police found fake identification cards and credit cards in the names of the victims.

      The men allegedly admitted to police they had obtained the fake documents from someone on the south side who met them in a basement a few days prior to their arrest. They were given a list of high-priced items and were instructed to go to retail stores to use instant lines of credit opened under victim’s names, police said. They then planned to resell the items and use the money to buy heroin, according to statements two of the offenders made to police.

      Arrested in the theft ring were Bobby Gordan, 60, of the 300 block of North Keystone Avenue, Chicago; Earl Stanley Rawls, 61, of the 9000 block of South Princeton Avenue, Chicago; Jesse Richard Thomas 51, of the 3200 block of North 171st Place, Hammond, Ind.; and Brian Washburn, 42, of the 4200 block of West Monroe Avenue, River Grove.

      Niles in the 900 block of Civic Center Plaza, where Rawls charged $3,385 in merchandise to an instant line of credit using the information of one of the victims.

      After loading the items, including a whirlpool, toilet and a lawn mower, into the back of a U-Haul truck being driven by Washburn, the four men stopped at Menards in the 6300 block of Oakton Street.

      This time, Gordan went into the store while the others waited outside, police said. He brought three water heaters and several other items to the counter totaling $2,663 and asked the clerk to pull up his credit card information because he had left his Menards store-issued credit card at home.

      His request was denied, and a suspicious store manager wrote down the license plate of the U-Haul truck and called police. When police arrived in the parking lot, they found the truckload of merchandise from Home Depot, along with fake identification cards, Experian credit reports with the victims’ information, and other financial documents, according to police.

      After he was taken into police custody, Rawls allegedly told officers that he has been addicted to heroin for at least 30 years and that he commits crimes to support his habit.

      It was unclear how the victims’ private information was stolen, but Yaras said police were looking into the possibility that it was stolen from a database kept at a Chicago-area law firm.

      Gordan, Rawls and Washburn were released from jail on March 7 with electronic monitoring, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.

      Thomas was released on bond on March 7.

      The offenders are scheduled to appear before a judge at the Skokie courthouse on April 7. Attempts to reach Gordan, Rawls, Washburn and Thomas were unsuccessful.

      Natalie Hayes is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

      Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/morton-grove/crime/ct-mgc-id-theft-morton-grove-tl-0331-20160330-story.html

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      Newark: Two arrested on suspicion of identity theft

      Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

      NEWARK — A man and woman from Stockton were in Santa Rita Jail after their arrest Monday in connection with at least 10 cases of identity theft, police said.

      Just before 9 a.m. Monday, a Newark police officer was handling a false vehicle-registration case at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in the 39900 block of Balentine Drive. Finding it hard to tow, the officer removed its plates and left it there.

      About an hour and a half later, the officer saw the vehicle parked outside a business on NewPark Mall Ring Road. While the officer began paperwork to tow the vehicle, a man approached him and asked what he was doing with his car, according to police.

      The officer found the man, a 38-year-old Stockton resident, was on active searchable probation. When a search of the vehicle turned up signs of identity theft, the officer detained the man and took him back to the Doubletree, where the man had rented a room.

      A probation search found dozens of stolen credit cards, a card reader, stolen property and altered checks, as well as a 29-year-old Stockton woman, whom police also detained.

      The pair were arrested and booked into Santa Rita Jail on suspicion of several felony identity-theft-related charges involving at least 10 victims, police said. The suspects’ names were not released.

      Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180 or follow him at Twitter.com/allaboutgeorge.

      Article source: http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29699909/newark-two-arrested-suspicion-identity-theft

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      Double betrayal: Identity theft turns friendship sour

      Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

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      An Oceola Township couple’s discovery that someone charged more than $12,000 to their credit card was a double betrayal when they learned the culprit was a friend.

      The friend, Glenda Sue Price, was given an 11-month delayed sentence Thursday for identity theft, larceny in a building and stealing/retaining a financial transaction device without consent. During the delay, she is on probation and expected to pay $13,543 in restitution — $12,369 to Discover and $1,174 to the victims.

      “She’s the best con artist I’ve ever seen,” victim Chere Wolfe said. “She’ll hug you every morning and then stab you in the back.”

      A message left on voicemail at a public phone listed for Price was not returned Tuesday.

      Wolfe said she hired Price in 2015 to care for her children and her husband, who was experiencing health issues.  She said a prior caregiver, who had cared for Wolfe’s grandfather in 2011 and whom she considered a friend, recommended Price.

      Wolfe initially expressed reservations about hiring Price based on rumors she said she heard about Price having a theft-related case in 2014, but her grandfather’s former caregiver told her the allegations were “dismissed because they were false.”

      Prosecutor William Vailliencourt confirmed that Price was charged in 2014 with stealing/retaining a financial transaction device without consent. However, the prosecution dismissed the charge after a preliminary examination because the 89-year-old victim had no memory of the events to prove the charge, he said.

      State records also show Price pleaded guilty in 1997 to embezzlement and was sentenced to one-year of probation and to pay fines and costs. Wolfe said she was not aware of the 1997 case until after Price victimized her family.

      Wolfe said she was surprised in May 2015 when she received a text from Discover declining an $8.30 purchase at Burger King.

      “I don’t eat at Burger King,” she said. “I called my husband to ask if he’s at Burger King. He said no. Now we have a problem.”

      Wolfe immediately checked her online credit card statement. She discovered that her balance was $17,300 — an estimated $5,300 over her credit card limit and more than $12,000 higher than her known balance. The discrepancy had gone undetected because the Wolfes pay the bill through automatic monthly payments.

      “I was surprised as hell,” Wolfe said, noting that she also was angry Discover had not notified her about the overage.

      Wolfe said her husband told Price about the situation and that’s when she received text messages from Price “confessing” to the theft, but Wolfe acknowledged that she trusted Price and, as a result, she didn’t understand the confession at first.

      In one text, Price told Wolfe that if she filed a police report, “I will be rt bk [sic] in court again like those CRAZIES … I worked for.”

      Wolfe reassured her friend that she had “nothing to worry about” because Price “only used” the Wolfes’ credit card “the one time” — when she was given permission to take the Wolfe children to a movie — and not to “rack up” $12,000 in purchases.  Wolfe told Price that whoever is on the store surveillance tape is the one in trouble for fraudulently using her credit card.

      Price responded: “Im [sic] telling you I used the card but NOT TO THE SUM OF 12,000$ [sic].” She then asked Wolfe to talk with her and not to “be to hasty or my (expletive) will be in jail!”

      Wolfe, still believing in her friend, reassured Price it did not involve her, but Price acknowledged in her next text “I will be on that ‘tape’ and I will be in trouble.”

      Wolfe and her husband, Robert Wolfe, said Price used their credit card to host an Easter party for her family and to purchase clothing and other items.

      “The thing that really stinks is we trusted her and treated her like family,” Robert Wolfe said. “We gave her a $3,000 bonus for all the help she’d given us and then she turns around and rips us off. … We don’t want her doing this to anyone else.”

      Contact Livingston Daily justice reporter Lisa Roose-Church at 517-552-2846 or lrchurch@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRooseChurch.

      Article source: http://www.livingstondaily.com/story/news/crime/2016/03/29/glenda-price-sentence/82381084/

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      Police: Identity theft suspect stole $170K from Walton County business

      Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

      A Walton County woman is facing identity theft charges for allegedly stealing more than $170,000 from a local business, police said. And charges against others are expected soon.

      Tamara Mashburn, who also was known by the names Henry, Blackwell and Hatlevig, has been arrested on eight counts of financial identity theft, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday in a media release.

      The theft occurred at Adair Roofing Company of Loganville, the release said.

      Police: Identity theft suspect stole $170K from Walton County business photo

      More charges against this suspect and others are expected shortly, the release also said.

      — Please return to AJC.com for updates.

      Article source: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/crime-law/police-identity-theft-suspect-stole-170k-from-walt/nqtjX/

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      Procrastinating your taxes? You risk identity theft

      Wednesday, March 30th, 2016
      (Image: Shutterstock)
      (Image: Shutterstock)

      WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The deadline to file your taxes is coming up in a few weeks, and there are consequences if you wait too long. Tax procrastinators, you have 3 weeks to file your taxes, and avoid any late filing penalties. Waiting any longer puts you at risk in more ways than one.

      Ray Maargero of Liberty Tax in West Springfield told 22News, “The later you file, frankly, the more opportunity is there that there may be some identity theft issues, so you want to get your return filed as soon as you can.”

      The penalties for filing late are significant. If you owe money, you could pay up to 5 percent penalty, each month if you don’t file on time. And there’s interest on top of that. If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $135.

      Remember, the deadline is different this year. The filing date deadline this year in Massachusetts is April 19th. Washington DC observes emancipation day on April 15th, pushing the deadline back.

      Experts urge you to go through your records now to see what deductions you qualify for. When we rush, we often make mistakes.

      “You know, you get yourself in trouble because, at the end of the day, you wait until the last minute and then you’re paying penalties,” says Idalis Delestre of West Springfield.

      Tariq Rahmat of West Springfield says, “I don’t understand why people wait. You have to do it, and you have to do it early, so then everybody’s happy about that.”

      If you’re still not ready by the 19th, you can file for an extention to avoid the non-filing penalty.It’s a 4868 form, and it needs to be filed by April 18th. The extension is only for the paperwork involved – you still have to send what you owe.

      Article source: http://wric.com/2016/03/28/procrastinating-your-taxes-you-risk-identity-theft/

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