News 4 Investigates: Why is it so easy for crooks to steal your - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: Why is it so easy for crooks to steal your tax refund?

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KMOV.com) -

Since the beginning of tax season, News 4 has been getting one call and email after another of viewers saying their identities have been stolen, and somebody else has filed for their tax refund.

Chris Nagus of News 4 Investigates went straight to the man in charge of the Internal Revenue Service to find out why it's so easy for crooks to get their hands on your hard earned money.

“It's an absolute nightmare, I'm angry and I'm frustrated," said Scott Minner of St. Ann.

Minner is one of the hundreds of thousands of U.S. taxpayers that will file, only to discover someone has already filed for them.

In Minner's case, both his and his wife's identities were stolen.

The crooks filed for refunds in both of their names, claiming Scott and his wife were married to different people.

“I've got some woman named Katherine, she's got some guy named Lee we have never heard of,” said Minner.

Despite being married to the same woman and living in the same house for years, the crooks were able to file a refund without detection. The only red flag: when Minner called the IRS to complain.

He told News 4, “To me it shouldn't even be possible for that to happen… we want answers from the IRS.”

So News 4's Chris Nagus headed to Washington D.C. to get those answers.

Last week, the IRS commissioner was in front of a Senate Budget committee asking for more money.

It comes at the same time many Americans are watching their money disappear.

When News 4's Chris Nagus asked John Koskinen, the IRS Commissioner, if he was concerned if taxpayers were losing faith in the IRS, he said, “Overall, I think faith in the IRS is critical, I think it's important for taxpayers to know we take our obligation seriously.”

Koskinen says the biggest issue is his budget; nearly $12 billion a year isn't enough.

“The IRS is significantly under funded and it has a negative impact on taxpayers” said Koskinen.

The IRS is making some changes: issuing specific pin numbers to victims of identity theft, working to improve filters to stop one individual from filing hundreds of returns and limiting the number of refunds that can be deposited on hard-to-trace debit cards.

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