Scam Alert: Willoughby man defrauded out of tax return - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Scam Alert: Willoughby man defrauded out of tax return

Richard Soprek Richard Soprek

Willoughby resident Richard Soprek went to electronically file his tax return and learned that it had already been filed.

"Basically, my identity was stolen and used my information to take my tax return," says Soprek, of Willoughby.  "It's terrible - a real inconvenience and setback also."

But it gets worse. Police say they think more than one person has tried to use Soprek's identity. He's had to alert a laundry list of people to protect himself.

"Police departments, Federal Trade Commission, Equifax, contacted the IRS, stopping credit cards, bank account," added Soprek.

According to the BBB, last year the IRS paid out millions in phony tax returns. This kind of identity theft fraud is a growing problem.

Sue McConnell of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Cleveland wasn't surprised to hear Soprek's story.  She says tax identity theft is a huge problem, this is the first local case reported this year. 

"This is why it is so important to keep your Social Security number and other private information very private," says McConnell.

Soprek says he has no idea how someone got a hold of his social security number. Now this hard working father of two will have to wait months for a refund some criminal may have already spent. 

"You see it all the time. You just don't think it's ever going to happen to you.  Sure enough, they are out there: predators," adds Soprek.

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