On Your Side: Woman's tax refund stolen two years in a row

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Identity thieves stole a woman's tax refund not once, but two years in a row. The woman got angry and turned to 12 On Your Side for help.

A name, social security number, birth date, and phony documents--that's all tax return identity thieves need to steal your refund. Danielle DiMaggio got burned, and was unaware until the Internal Revenue Service rejected her 2012 tax return and refused to issue her the refund the government owed her. DiMaggio learned someone filed her return early, and she had no idea.

"I've given all my documentation to prove who I am," DiMaggio said. "I have my W-2s. My Social Security Number. My identification to prove who I am and that I've worked for this money. I didn't do anything wrong."

DiMaggio started working with the IRS's identity protection specialized unit, filling out forms, alerting the credit bureaus. She was assigned a personal tax advocate. Then the IRS instructed her to file her 2013 taxes just like normal. She did back in January, and that return was rejected, too.

"It's not fair that they stole my identity when I work for money," DiMaggio said. "I deserve my money because I worked for it. It's mine and not theirs."

DiMaggio was owed $1,200 the first time her identity was stolen, and $3,900 the second time. It's money DiMaggio said she needs to fix her car and support her children."

"My car is sitting outside. It's not working. I was depending on the tax return to fix it so I can go back to work to provide them what they need," she said.

Dominion Power eventually shut off DiMaggio's electricity. Her IRS tax advocate was supposed to be helping expedite the process of paying her power bill and having the electricity turned back on, but the family ended up spending eight days without power. DiMaggio said her power finally came back on Tuesday morning.

I placed several calls to the IRS, including to the tax advocate group manager. She told me she would find someone authorized to speak with me, but I didn't get a call back.

Overnight, however, DiMaggio's $3,900 refund appeared in her account. Now DiMaggio is fixing her car. The IRS says it's working on the 2012 refund next.

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