IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. - Deputies in Iredell County are investigating more than a dozen cases of identity theft in less than a week.
They said someone is using stolen information to file taxes, and it may be impossible to track.
The good news is that the money isn't gone for good, but Eyewitness News spoke to one father who said he may have to wait a year.
William Queen, owner of Painted Saint Tattoo in Statesville, said he wanted to get a jump on tax season, so he filed his return on Monday.
"I got a call from my accountant yesterday saying it had been rejected. Apparently I had already filed them (on Jan.) 21," Queen said.
Queen is one of more than a dozen identity theft reports that they have received in less than a week, detectives said.
It's too early to tell if the cases are connected, but the suspects could be anywhere, and some could be impossible to track, Sheriff Darren Campbell said.
"It could be in this country, out of this country. (As) soon as they get the money, it could be liquidated anywhere." he said.
Campbell said the department's Economic Crime Unit is working with the IRS and victims to get their returns back.
Queen was told that could take anywhere between five months and a year.
Queen also said it will cost him even more money because he's going to have to miss a couple of days of work to fix the problem, an added burden for the sole provider of a wife and three children.
"So when I'm missing work, my kids, that's food out of their mouth, so it's a big stress -- a very big stress," he said.
He'll now have to go an IRS office and file a new return manually. While he's not sure how his identity was taken, he said that from now on, he'll do whatever he can to keep it from happening again.
"I'm going to start shredding every piece of mail I can -- anything that has information that I don't want anyone else to have, for that fact everything," Queen said.
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