MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A Myrtle Beach woman received a letter from the IRS asking for more information about her recent tax filing. It was a real letter from the IRS, but she hadn't filed a tax return.
"Being on Social Security and only making $10,000, I didn't file an income tax return," said Jo, the woman who received the letter. "Plus, on the top there's my name and someone else's name, that I've never heard of."
Jo contacted the IRS, and they not only confirmed they had sent the letter, but found when the returns were filed through the Federal Trade Commission.
"Filed through a computer," Jo said. "In February, they filed, then they filed again in March."
At this point, neither Jo nor the IRS is sure if it's identity theft or just a simple clerical error, but the agency did advise her to file a police report.
Clark Parker, a local CPA with Parker, Hunter, Skipper says he and his firm have seen instances of tax returns filed using legitimate information, but the original filer is using someone else's identity.
"It's normally related to credit card fraud," Parker said.
Parker says identity thieves will also file fraudulent tax returns to get the earned income tax credit, which can net about $2,400 per dependent child.
But at this point, it isn't clear if Jo is the victim of identity theft, or has simply been the victim of a mix-up with the IRS, but she says she's taking steps to make sure everything's taken care of.
"I've got to go to Social Security in person," she said, "with a passport and other ID."