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I am hearing all these stories about criminals filing fraudulent tax returns and receiving tax refunds by using stolen social security numbers. How are they able to do this? I've heard they just make up the supporting documents. Why does this work? Doesn't the IRS even check that the withholding amounts claimed on the false documents match the actual withholding amounts reported by the valid employers? Don't the employer ID numbers have to match? And what about the checking number of dependents claimed or the mailing address against last year's return?

I guess I'm naive but I don't see how the fraudulent documents don't raise red flags.

These same stories are recommending that everyone file as quickly as possible to get your valid tax return submitted before some criminal files a tax return using your stolen social security number. I normally wait until the end of March in case a brokerage company sends an amended tax form so that I don't have to re-file an amended tax return.

Can anyone explain how this type of fraud can occur?

Thanks in advance.

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