San Jose man victim of new twist on tax fraud

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - A San Jose man says someone filed a bogus tax return on his behalf. And while he's upset that it happened, he's even more upset that the IRS appears to be paying out refunds on it.

Dave Rand was more than a little surprised, when this tax return showed up in the mail in early May. The check, made out to him, was for $74,000. It was odd, since he hadn't actually filed his tax return yet. Apparently, someone else had, fraudulently.

"I was shocked and contacted the IRS immediately, returned the check. And I thought that would be the end of it," says Rand.

It wasn't. Another check, this one for nearly $4800, arrived a few weeks later. Rand suspects the thieves only got part of the fraudulent refund into their account, the rest, was mailed to him.

Rand says he wondered, "OK is this the last check? So again contacted the IRS, let them know. They assured me they'd received all my documentation, my affidavit of identity theft. And that we'd probably be done."

They weren't done. The money kept coming.

"I received another $36,000 dollar check just a few days ago," he says.

While Rand's case seems unusual - identity theft is not.

The IRS recently announced a computer breach, affecting more than 100,000 tax payers.

A spokesman says, while he can't comment on Rand's case, preventing fraudulent returns is a priority.

"The IRS realizes it's a big issue in the tax system. We're doing the best we can to protect, detect and use our filters to make sure we're only sending out legitimate refunds," says spokesman Raphael Tulino.

In fact, between 2011 and 2014, the IRS says it's stopped 19 million suspicious returns.

But this year it apparently did not catch Dave Rand's.

"Now we're looking for the IRS to take some action. The IRS says we're not going to take any action until you file your tax return. I can't file my tax return until the fall when I get my K-1s," he says.

Rand who works with computers, and his wife, who runs an art studio, worry the thieves trail will be cold by then.

His message to the IRS: "I mean $116,000 in refunds and still no action is being taken to find the miscreants," he says. "Please help. Stop sending me money."

Rand says he returned all three checks, but has no way of knowing how much money the thieves may have gotten away with.

He's been told that his money has been protected. However, he isn't sure how much he'll have to spend with accountants to make sure that's the case.