Some taxpayers affected by Anthem security breach face frustrating journey to file returns

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The tax deadline has passed, but the headaches last for some taxpayers now facing an uphill battle after learning someone stole their identities.

Security breaches seem to pop up one after another. The latest massive breach occurred at Anthem, which runs Blue Cross Blue Shield in a dozen states, including Missouri. The private information of an estimated 100 million consumers fell into the hands of criminals, and some people in Kansas City say it's happened to them.

Imagine getting a letter from the Internal Revenue Service asking for more information about your 2014 tax return, but there’s a problem: You haven’t filed it yet. That’s what happened to Dave Markus in March.

"It's kind of unsettling,” Markus said.

A letter from the IRS was the beginning of a journey for Markus that took him to the police department and the tax assistance center to prove to the IRS who he is. With all of the hassle, Markus is luckier than some, as the fake tax return was caught before any money was paid out.

"It was different enough from our regular return that it set off some alarm bells at the IRS,” he explained.

What set off those alarm bells is still a mystery.

"They wouldn't give me a copy of it,” he said.

The IRS cited privacy issues and will not show Markus the fake return filed in his name. Markus said he is very protective of his personal information, even uses an identity protection service to ensure his private information is protected. He also has insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"That Anthem hack back in New England that got all those millions of numbers, we figure that is where they picked us up,” he said.

Although Anthem has acknowledged the massive security breach and is working with customers affected, it does not acknowledge any fallout from the breach.

A statement sent by a representative from Anthem reads:

"In working with the FBI...there is no evidence that fraud has occurred against our members , including fraudulent tax returns."

A class-action lawsuit filed in Missouri claims Anthem failed to safeguard consumer data, and it wasn’t the first time. In 2013, Anthem agreed to pay more than $1.7 million in damages after another security breach.

"It's not like I was walking down a dark alley and somebody took my social security number, I mean this happens to people,” Markus said.

Security experts say it is nearly impossible to avoid being the victim of a large-scale security breach, but if you are, it is important to put a freeze your credit reports with all three credit bureaus to mitigate the damages of criminals having your personal information.



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