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Rep. Steve Israel Calls for New Action to Stop Tax Identity Theft

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Tax time appears to be the new season for scammers.

Officials say the number of fraudulent tax returns filed by scammers quadrupled last year.

Chris Madonna, of Smithtown, said he filed his tax return by mail last year and then discovered an identity thief had already filed an electronic one asking for a $9,000 refund.

1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reports


"An electronic return went in, and they got the hard copy of mine," Madonna said. "So they had two returns – both were looking for refunds."

Madonna said the return he filed sought a return for $4,000.

After receiving the hard copy, the IRS determined the electronic file was a fraud and gave Madonna his refund.

Congressman Steve Israel is calling call on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to speed up prosecutions of this scam.

"This is a new and growing criminal enterprise," Israel said.

Last month, two Long Island women were charged with stealing hundreds of identities and then claiming the victims' tax refund checks.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Susan Pemberton and Cynthia Sibert offered fake jobs and housing on Craigslist and then obtained the names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers of their alleged victims.

The suspects allegedly used the secure information to file $500,000 in fraudulent state and federal tax returns.

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