Identity theft victims receive surprise $8,000 check from the IRS

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - We're just days away from the April 15th tax deadline.  And while the  IRS waits for your return, more and more crooks are collecting fraudulent refund checks. Recently, a South County Couple found themselves facing a pretty weird situation.

Tom and Laurie Votrain are among thousands of people surprised to learn their identity has been stolen.  But they didn't know what to think when a refund check arrived  from the IRS.  It came just a few days after they tried to e-file their joint return.   That return was rejected by the feds.

"That`s because, someone had already filed taxes in our name. But then a couple of weeks later we got a notice that our refund was in the mail.  And we received this check for almost $8,000."

The couple expected their refund would be about $300.  The bogus filer requested the refund be sent to a bank account.  But even that was not a simple process.

"The thief entered an incorrect bank routing number.    So the IRS cuts a check and sends it to us.   So now I`ve got this check for almost  $8,000."

So, the IRS trying to be helpful mails a check to a couple who's return was rejected weeks before.  Then the couple tries to return the check. "Calling the IRS is an impossibility. So I went to the IRS office in Chesterfield, patiently waited about two and half hours, and got to talk to an agent."

But first there were conversations with other taxpayers in the waiting room. "We all talked among ourselves and it seemed to me the majority of the people waiting in the waiting room was all about identity theft, almost every single person."

No matter how tempting it was to keep it, the Votrains knew they couldn't deposit the check.  "They gave me a mailing address told me to make a copy, send it registered mail, and all this.  But they definitely want this back.  I offered to exchange it...our check for this one.   He said, the IRS is not that simple."

Remember, if your e-filed return is rejected it's probably due to identity theft.  You'll need to complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit.  If you get a check that is more or less than you are supposed to receive hold onto the check.  It has to be returned.  We have a number for you to call if you have a fraud issue.

More information: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft