H&R Block Tax Preparer Steals US Customer Data

A former H&R Block employee is charged with stealing the identities of dozens of clients and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds after fraudulently filing income tax returns in the customers’ names without their knowledge.   A search of the car she was in uncovered a treasure-trove of evidence: a file box full of H&R Block client information, numerous blank W-2 forms, more than 100 debit cards and yellow legal pads with columns of Social Security numbers, PIN numbers, dates of tax filings and whether the returns had been accepted or rejected.

Coming at the height of tax season, the arrests of Francesca Foster, who worked at an H&R Block office in East Chicago, and a second woman illustrate the dangers faced when filing tax returns and the ease with which scammers can use electronic filing to steal identities.  IRS officials said citizens need to have the same level of trust with their tax preparer as they do with their own doctor before giving out personal information.