IRS changes policies after NH family deals with identity theft

The IRS is changing one of its rules after a woman from Strafford became the victim of an income tax scam.

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While coming to grips with the death of her daughter last year, things got worse for Lori Weeks when she tried to file her tax return.

“It was a kick in the gut,” Weeks said. “It was grief on top of grief.”

Just over one year after her 7-year-old daughter, Madison, was killed in a car crash, Weeks and her husband were filing their tax return when they learned that someone had claimed their deceased child as a dependent.

“I think the most disturbing thing is that there are people out there who are waiting for children to die so they can steal their identity,” Weeks said.

Because of the fraud, the Weeks were unable to file their return. That led to hours online and on the phone with state and federal agencies.

“Everybody had a different answer as to what place I should call, who I should talk to, what paperwork I should file,” Weeks said.

She said the IRS would only tell her that Madison’s Social Security number was used three times. It gave no information about who used it, what information was stolen and how it happened.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., got involved and criticized the IRS for not being more open with victims of that type of crime.

Weeks said it took about a month-and-a-half to get her real return processed. She is now speaking out about policies that she called unnecessarily difficult on already-fragile families.

“Maybe this is the cause that I can get behind, and I can make Madison proud and help other families,” she said.

The IRS sent a letter Thursday to Ayotte saying it will change its policies to allow people in similar situations to get copies of the fake returns that were filed.

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