ST. LOUIS – It’s tax season and that means scammers are at work. A man and a woman hit three of Liberty Tax’s locations before the IRS flagged them and the company caught them.
Bruce Thompson owns 23 Liberty Tax stores in the St. Louis area. He gives a $50 bill to anyone who files before February 16th. He also gives another fifty dollars for getting a friend to follow suit.
“People are hard up for money after Christmas, right?” said Thompson.
But recently, Thompson was scammed. A woman visited his O’Fallon, Missouri store, presented her W-2’s, a social security number and did her return.
“She goes, ‘Hey my ex-husband is outside, can I send him in?’ He came in and sat down, did his W-2, got his taxes done and they walked out with fifty dollars each and she got an extra fifty for sending him,” Thompson said.
The IRS doesn’t officially open until January 28th but is doing testing on early returns. The two returns done at the O’Fallon office came back rejected with socials that didn’t match their name.
“Two days later, the same tax return, same woman was completed at my St. Ann location. So she walked out with more money,” said Thompson.
But, Liberty recognized her name after she left and contacted all their stores.
“The very next day her ex-husband walked in the door with her and my manager got a police officer there. St. Ann police were there in 5 minutes,” Thompson said.
The couple has been booked and will soon be charged. They also scammed the Troy, Missouri store and used three stolen social security numbers which will affect the people with that legal number.
“Let’s say they use your social and the IRS already has a (Social Security Number) that someone has tried using with the wrong name. They’re going to be on the lookout the next time it’s used,” said Thompson.
Thompson also recommends small businesses using a tax ID number instead of a social security number when possible.