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May 24, 2015 2:26 PM

Strafford couple whose daughter died, now haunted by her identify theft


STRAFFORD – A local couple who lost their 7-year-old daughter last year in a car crash are now being haunted by problems that arose when the child’s Social Security number was stolen.

The Union Leader reports that Lori Weeks and her husband were getting ready to file their 2014 tax return, which included Madison as a dependent, when they learned from a tax advocate in Portsmouth that the child’s Social Security number had appeared on three fraudulent tax returns. All three returns were rejected because of red flags raised by the IRS computers.

Weeks said she tried to reach someone at the IRS who could help her but was unsuccessful. That led her to contact a friend who worked for U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Earlier this month, Ayotte joined Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Mark Warner, D-Va., in filing a bill that would require the IRS to notify victims of identity theft, something the agency has failed to do in the past. Ayotte said she was motivated to act by the Weeks' situation and other constituents who’ve had their identities stolen and used on fake tax returns.

"It's kind of surprising that they don't release information to victims when they have an indication of fraud," said Ayotte, who was told IRS rules forbid the release of such material because it could contain the personal information of unrelated third parties also compromised by the fraudulent filers.

The proposed Social Security Identity Defense Act of 2015 would require the IRS to notify a taxpayer if the agency has reason to believe the individual's Social Security number has been used fraudulently.


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