A wise man once said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” The wolf in sheep’s clothing refers to someone in a role contrary to his or her character and with whom contact is dangerous. In other words, sometimes it’s the people we trust the most that commit the worst crimes. And it’s often the people who are the most vulnerable that are victimized.
In Virginia, HamptonRoads.com reports, “Two former health care nurse’s aides were indicted on charges of stealing the identities of at least a dozen patients as part of an elaborate scheme that netted more than $116,000 in fraudulent tax refunds. The men would take names, birth dates and Social Security numbers and give them to other people. Those accomplices, not identified in the indictment, would file false income tax returns collect refunds. Those refunds ranged from about $999 to $7,300, the indictment said.”
The boss of the alleged thieves stated, “We take the protection of patient information entrusted to us very seriously and have safeguards in place.” He added that “every employee is required to sign a pledge each year promising to protect patient information.”
This is hardly a new phenomenon. When I was in my early 20s, I knew a guy who worked as a home healthcare clinician and did this to his elderly patients. He had a cocaine problem and was just a nasty human being to begin with.
If you or anyone in your family is under the care of “professionals” who are put in a position of trust, know that trust is no more than a signed pledge away from being broken.
The best protection against identity theft is a combination of credit freezing and identity theft protection. Tax-related identity theft can’t be protected by either; however, the restorative component of an identity theft protection service may assist you in cleaning up the mess. Before making an investment, ask what is offered and if the service will do anything to prevent or fix tax-related identity theft.