ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - When it comes to filing taxes, most people aren't thinking much about identity theft but one Orange County man said he was a victim before he even filed his taxes.
Scott Schneberger said he received a letter from the IRS letting him know his refund check would be sent by mail since his bank wouldn’t accept direct deposit, but the problem was Schneberger hadn’t even filed his taxes yet.
"You hear so much about electronic fraud and ID theft going on. It just really didn't cross our minds that it might happen with a tax return," he said.
Around the same time, Schneberger's tax preparer tried to file his return electronically but the IRS wouldn't accept it because it believed he had already filed.
"As soon as we became aware, we notified the client it looked like they were a victim of identity theft," said enrolled tax agent Ron Tamayo.
On Monday, Schneberger still hadn't been able to file a return but he received an IRS check for $3,500 more than his tax refund should have been.
He believes someone stole his
identity, filed a false return in his name and tried to get the money routed to their bank account.
"For some reason, it wasn't accepted at their bank,
wherever it was being sent," said Schneberger.
The thieves didn't get the money but now Schneberger is left to straighten it out, knowing it could be a long delay before he gets his real refund.