Some Pennsylvania residents may have been victims of identity theft in the weeks leading up to the 2015 tax return deadline. Stealing a taxpayer’s personal information in order to collect a refund in their name has become a popular scam. Scammers looking for tax refund money have now targeted payroll information belonging to companies like Seagate and Snapchat.

White-collar crimes involving tax refunds usually require payroll data, and scammers have now found a way to access an immense collection of payroll data. A payroll processing company called ADP has been targeted, and an unknown number of false tax returns may have already been filed using some of the company’s payroll data. ADP prints paychecks for 610,000 companies.

One of the companies that hires ADP to print its payroll checks is U.S. Bancorp, which has about 64,000 employees. Some of the employees at U.S. Bancorp were victims of security breaches when scammers set up fake accounts through an ADP portal. To create a false tax return, the scammers would have to have a U.S. Bancorp employee’s personal information including their birth date, full name and Social Security number.

Much of the fraud that goes on today happens over the Internet, and it can be difficult for investigators to identify the person responsible for a specific alleged scam. A criminal defense attorney representing a person who has been accused of stealing personal identifying information to commit acts of fraud may choose to combat the charges by challenging the way that the prosecution obtained its alleged evidence.

Source: Consumerist, “New Payroll Fraud Variation: Scammers Gain Access To Corporate ADP Accounts,” Laura Northrup, May 3, 2016

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