Contact 6: Puerto Rican tax scheme

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Tax time is here, and FOX6's Contact 6 says scam artists are at work!

"They asked me if I had seen or noticed anything unusual in my neighborhood," Bob, a fraud victim said.

Bob said he had noticed suspicious activity in his neighborhood, linked to a multi-billion dollar scam. It starts with the theft of Social Security numbers belonging to residents of Puerto Rico. It ends with major theft from the U.S. Treasury.

"Puerto Ricans generally do NOT file federal income tax returns, but they are issued Social Security numbers, so the fraudsters will steal the SS numbers, dates of births and bring them up here to the United States to file federal income tax return checks," an undercover agent said.

The con men direct the IRS to send the refund checks to an address of someone they know or to easily accessible mailboxes like the one at Bob's house.

"This came to my house. I had no idea who it was for and wrote return to sender right here and took it to the Post Office. I thought it was strange, because it came in September," Bob said.

Inspectors say Bob did the right thing.

"We`ve intercepted billions of dollars in fraudulent federal tax return checks," an undercover agent said.

Inspectors say they have done surveillance and undercover sting operations to arrest people in this scheme.

"We want our postal customers to inform us if they have received such type of checks in their mailbox," an undercover agent said.

This scam cost the U.S. $6.2 billion last year alone. Besides the people who had their IDs stolen, taxpayers are also the victims.