Andy's Got Your Back on a mail scam - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Got Your Back on a mail scam

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(WMC TV) - A letter carrier just doing his job uncovered a tax return scam.

"I was delivering the mail and noticed the names did not match the people who lived at the house," said postal worker Richard Russo. He noticed the same house was receiving multiple U.S. Treasury checks in the names of multiple people. 

He collected the checks and turned them over to postal inspectors.

"This is an identity theft investigation that started off with perpetrators stealing or buying people's Social Security numbers," said U.S. Postal Inspector Cheryl Swyers. "Then they file false W-2 forms as the victims attached to those numbers."

Swyers said the thieves used the information to file false tax returns, then paid someone to snatch the checks as they arrived at each house.

"At one time, every house on one street was getting one, and they were all fraudulent names," said Russo.

Inspectors said the thieves get the stolen ID's from black-market lists or "underground" web sites. Investigators said they get away with it because the IRS does not cross-check all returns against employee W-2 records before issuing refunds.

Inspectors said the scam cost taxpayers more than $6 billion in refunds and revenue last year.

If you receive any mail that has someone else's name, return it immediately to your post office.

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