Imagine getting a bunch of tax documents telling you and the IRS about a large sum of money you made when, in fact, you never received a penny of it.
Why? Because someone stole your identity and used it to collect a big chunk of change, leaving you with the tax liability.
CBS San Francisco reports that one of its viewers has been living with this nightmare for the past five years with no apparent relief.
“It should be fairly straightforward for them to try to identify who the perpetrators are,” said Richard, whose last name the station agreed not to use.
Richard works full time as an investment banker at a major financial institution.
His ordeal began in 2017 when he got tax documents reporting money he supposedly received from a big tech company.
“Starting In 2017, I started receiving these 1099s from Google and I never worked for them. It was very suspicious,” he explained.
Richard’s identity had been stolen. He notified Google and federal authorities.
Google voided the tax reports. Even so, the 1099s keep coming.
“It’s frustrating. I mean, I can’t even count the number of hours that I’ve spent trying to deal with this every year,” Richard said.
Every year at tax time, Google sends Richard multiple 1099 reports that are mostly for miscellaneous income. He told CBS San Francisco that he’s then forced to contact Google to void them.
The 1099s are mailed to an old address where relatives live. This year was by far the worst.
“They sent me seventeen 1099s,” said Richard, gesturing toward a pile of documents.
We asked Richard about the grand total supposedly paid to someone who was using his stolen identity.
“Over the last five years, around $100,000,” he said.
The income is from advertising revenue provided by one of Google’s programs known as AdSense.
If you agree to host ads on your website, you can earn money from the company. Someone using Richard’s stolen identity signed up for the service and created multiple accounts. No taxes were withheld.
“My worst fear is just that there’s all this income reported under my social security number and I actually didn’t earn it, right? And the IRS comes after me a few years from now, audits me and says ‘Hey, there is all this income you failed to report and you owe taxes on it,'” Richard said.
Richard isn’t the only victim.
“This 1099 had all of my credentials on it. I didn’t put the credentials in. Somebody else did and scraped the money into their own account,” said Patrick Reames, …….