Student possibly victim of tax fraud
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 15:03
When sophomore Japhanie Gray received a call Thursday from her mother, the last thing she thought her mother would tell her was she could be a victim of tax fraud.
“My mother called me early this morning and asked if I tried filing for my taxes. I responded, ‘no ma’am,’” said Gray, an RTV major of Osceola. “She was freaking out.”
Gray’s mother tried to file taxes for Gray and the filing was rejected. She immediately called the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who informed her that someone had already tried filing under Gray’s identification.
“(The IRS) sent her a bunch of documents basically saying that I am a victim of identity theft,” Gray said. “Someone has been doing this for a while now.”
Gray was informed that someone has been trying to file under her name since last year and that sparked suspicion from the IRS, which is why they rejected her this time.
“Seeing that this has been happening all around campus, I’m starting to think that there is something in the system,” Gray said. “I have worked for different events for the school. Nothing else can know my identity. This is the only place it could be coming from.”
Gray and her family have done as much as they could, but she remains uncertain of what to make of the situation.
“I’m not really sure about anything. It has just hit me,” Gray said. “All I can do is listen and wait to see what is going on.”
According to Len Frey, vice chancellor for finance and administration, this is the first report of a ASU student who has been contacted by the IRS regarding potential identity theft.
“Currently, we have 187 employees who have been impacted,” Frey said.
Gray was quick to contact the UPD office and the office of Finance and Administration
“So far I’m the first student that has reported this,” Gray said. “I was sent a lot of documents to protect my I.D. and if someone is using it, I have ways to stop it.”
Gray said other than filing a police report, not much advice or information was given to her concerning the situation.
“They just filed a report and sent me on my way,” Gray said. “Like a lot of students, I haven’t been checking to see if a fraud has been happening to my account. I had no idea.”
Lori Winn, director of human resources at ASU, said there hasn’t been much communication about this incident to the public. “There hasn’t been an email sent out as of now,” Winn said. “We are not convinced that this situation has any relation with the faculty tax fraud.”
While Gray was informed this situation can take years to resolve, she is trying to remain optimistic and not get too worried about it.
“I’m shocked that it would happen to me of all people,” Gray said. “You never think that this type of stuff would happen.”
Reflecting on the lack of information she has received, Gray said students should be made aware of the situation.
“They’ve been ignoring students because they think it wasn’t happening to them, but there are a lot of employee students, too.” Gray said, adding that she thinks all students should be warned to check with the IRS.
Winn encourages students to visit the ITS webpage to learn how they can find out if they have been affected like Gray. “It has detailed instructions in regards to what to do whether you have been affected or not,” Winn said.
Gray only hopes that this theft of her identity will not continue to affect her in the future.
“What is going to happen is going to happen,” Gray said. “Hopefully by the end of this somebody will be brought to justice.”