9 more file ID theft complaints

IRS, East Chicago investigate nearly 30 alleged cases of ID theft by tax preparer
2010-02-16T00:05:00Z 9 more file ID theft complaints By Steve Zabroski - Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 16, 2010 12:05 am  • 

EAST CHICAGO | Nine more customers of an Indiana Harbor tax preparation office filed complaints of identity theft with police over the weekend, claiming others submitted 2009 tax returns using their Social Security numbers.

All of the most recent victims, and a majority of the nearly 30 alleged identity theft cases currently under investigation by East Chicago police and the Internal Revenue Service, list the H&R Block office at 3932 Main St. as the location where they currently or previously had filed their taxes.

The complaints are similar: After electronically filing tax returns through the Main Street office, the victim was notified that the IRS had rejected the return because someone had already filed using the person's Social Security number.

Some of the victims who planned to pay for their tax preparations through an expected tax refund told detectives that H&R Block employees demanded that they return to the Main Street office and pay the fees up front, before any further action would be taken regarding their case, according to reports filed with police.

Officials at the H&R Block district headquarters in Merrillville said last week that the company was investigating the allegations.

Police advise those who believe their Social Security number has been compromised to file a police report and complete an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, which are available in the James Knight Public Safety Facility at 2301 E. Columbus Drive in East Chicago.

Anyone with information about identity theft cases in East Chicago is asked to call police at (219) 391-8500.

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