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Id Theft

Id Theft

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In one of the fastest-growing forms of identity theft, crooks are stealing tax refunds by swiping personal information and using it to trick the Internal Revenue Service.
In one of the fastest-growing forms of identity theft, crooks are stealing tax refunds by swiping personal information and using it to trick the Internal Revenue Service.

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Published by: Scripps Howard News Service on Dec 17, 2012
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10/04/2013

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S P E C I A L R E P O R T
NEWS SERVICESCRIPPS HOWARD
 Thieves are afteryour identity: Fromstolen tax refundsto altered medicalrecords, the crimeis damaging
fnances and
putting people’slives in danger
 
Identity thieves are craty and quick. Expose one o their schemes, they move on to the next.Scripps Howard News Service reporter Isaac Wol discovered an unexpected and enormoussurge in the latest illegal tricks --- stealing tax reunds and scamming ree medical care -- with acombination o dogged reporting and intense data research.Using the Freedom o Inormation Act, Wol analyzed more than 1.4 million complaints o identity thet and shared his results with Scripps Howard television stations and newspapersaround the country. ogether, they pinpointed the neighborhoods targeted by thieves and thelatest techniques used to steal identities. Te Scripps team ound that, or completely dierent reasons, the hotbeds o identity thet areBrownsville, exas, and Brooklyn, New York.But the real surprise was that thets o tax reunds had tripled rom 2005 to 2009. Te victimsonly realized what had happened when they tried to claim legitimate tax reunds and ound themoney had been sent to someone else. In one elaborate scheme, crooks in Belarus used a ake tax-preparation service to generate phony returns and steal the reunds. Wol also discovered how thieves are taking advantage o health privacy laws to steal medical care.In response to the stories, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-NJ, began working on legal changes to allow people to fx their own health records. Tree months ater the Scripps stories ran, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., called on the IRS to tightensaeguards against tax-reund thet and better assist victims who must wait months -- sometimes years -- to get their rightul reunds. Wol’s reporting also caught the eye o producers at ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, which aired a national segment March 29 on tax-reund thet based on his fndings. We believe that Isaac Wol’s reporting will help shut down these types o thets. Surely, the IDthieves will move onto other scams. Wol will be right behind them.
Sincerely,
Peter Copeland
Editor & General ManagerScripps Howard News Service
NEWS SERVICESCRIPPS HOWARD
 About the Identity Teft special report 
 
3
SPRING 2011
SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICESPECIAL REPORT
IDENIYHEF
TAX FRAUDMEDICAL RECORDSEDITORIALS
ax reunds are the newest target o ID thievesBad guys have their eyes on your tax reundDoctors withhold records rom victimso medical identity thetBrownsville, exas, tops U.S. in ID thet reportsMedical ID thet is a growing problemMaking news around AmericaWhere the thieves are strikingHow to protect yoursel Who is most at risk o ID thet?What to do i you are a victimMedical ID thet victims need wayto x records, lawmaker says
CONTRIBUTORS
PAGE 4PAGE 23PAGE 12PAGE 8PAGE 24PAGE 9PAGE 10PAGE 14PAGE 16PAGE 18PAGE 20
CONTACTS
Reporter
Isaac Wol 
Editorial Writer
Dale McFeatters
Lead Editor
Lisa Hofman
Editors
Peter CopelandCarol GuensburgBob JonesJohn LindsayDavid Nielsen
Photo Editor
Sheila Person
Multimedia Editor
Jason Bartz
202-408-1484or stories@shns.com.
Our website
www.scrippsnews.com
Scripps Howard NewsService is part o theE.W. Scripps Co.
Medical ID thet victim Joanna Saenz. Her story, Page 12
SHNS photo by Mark . Osler

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