“Privacy” Had IRS Protecting Criminal at Expense of ID Theft Victim

Posted May 20, 2015

Bills Introduced in Both Houses Require IRS to Notify Victims When Their Social Security Number Has been Compromised

There’s a word that perfectly describes the situation that Wisconsin residents Robert and Debi Guenterberg found themselves in — Kafkaesque. The situation was so incredibly weird it’s even getting the Senate and House to act — albeit not exactly promptly.

In a story on fox6now.com, Bryan Polcyn reports on the case of the Internal Revenue Service (Not to be confused with the Federal Witness Protection program) protecting an ID thief’s privacy. The following has been excerpted from Polcyn’s piece and edited to fit our format. You may find the full story by clicking on this link.

In her own words

“Our federal agencies have known for years that this was going on,” Debi Guenterberg of Princeton, Wisconsin said. Ever since identity thieves ruined her husband’s credit, Guenterberg has been on a mission to change federal law. For years, the IRS knew a man was using her husband’s social security number to file his taxes. The government never told Robert Guenterberg his identity had been stolen because tax records are private — even the tax records of an identity thief.

“I can`t think of another crime. I can`t. I tried. I laid in bed last night, tossing and turning, thinking of any other criminal activity where you would get such privacy and protection. No, you don’t,” Debi Guenterberg said.

New bill introduced Co-sponsored by Sen. Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia)

The Social Security Identity Defense Act of 2015 would require the IRS to notify individuals if the agency has reason to believe their social security number has been used to commit fraud. It would also require the IRS to notify law enforcement officials.

Companion bill to be introduced in House

Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Wisconsin) is working on a companion bill that is expected to be introduced in the House in the next couple of weeks.



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