My Stepdaughter Stole Our Tax returns...Scared of Identity theft..FREAKING OUT!!

Updated on August 21, 2011
J.B. asks from Gilbert, AZ
14 answers

Hi there, my stepdaughter recently visited my huband and I over the summer and now we have noticed our 2010 tax returns missing. This is concerning as it has our whole entire families social security numbers on our return including our young children. Her mother I believe told her to get a hold of it for child support purposes. Her mother has other children that are in their late twentys and have long lengthy criminal records. So that is why I am worried. (my husband is not their father) My stepdaughter is only 13 but we have caught her on our nanny cam sneaking in our room and taking papers out of our important file drawer. (Last summer it was a paycheck stub but we over looked it because we did not have proof)

My question is can we file any type of charges against my stepdaughter or the stepmother for obtaining records that would possibly lead to identity theft or fraud. After all it is stealing. We are going to speak with the daughter and mother tonight but would like to know our rights. We would prefer they just sent our tax returns back and problem solved but if not we would like to try to call the daughter out and scare her into confessing. At the end of the day all we want is our identities and childrens information safe and secure.

What would you advise?

2 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?

We called the police and they said that we could proceed with charges. So we are. We have filled out a report with our local police department and they are going to contact her tomorrow. My husband fully supports the charges because he feels she needs tough love. We love her but have to let her know that she can not get away with this type of serious behavior. We have also agreed she is no longer allowed at our house because we should not have to live in our home worrying about what our kids will do with our personal information. My hubby if he wants to visit he can visit her for lunch dinner outings whatever but never at our house. Her mother and her both denied it and lied to our faces over the phone given she lives in colorado. The police says it could race from a misdemenor to a class 4 felony since it is considered theft. Now on Monday I will be contacting all the agencies needed. The SS Admin told me to call the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, ALL CREDIT BUREAUS, IRS, AND ONLINE AT THE SS ADMIN WEBSITE. We were also informed to make a police report to have a paper trail. If we do come across any misuse then the SS Admin will issue new numbers but not yet until our information has been compromised. At this point my husband and I are done with the little girl. Its unacceptable and she wiill have to face the consequences so maybe later in life she will not make the same mistake to us or anyone else in the world. Thanks for all your help ladies.

More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

Contact ALL credit reporting agencies and let them know that your social security numbers have been stolen and place a FRAUD ALERT on any and all social security numbers that have been compromised.

Contact your police department as well. Tell them what you told us. They may send a team out to check for finger prints - i don't know what they will do in your town...however, I would press charges against her...13 or no...she needs to have consequences for her actions.

Contact the Social Security Administration and let them know them all of SSNs that have been compromised...they can place a fraud alert on those social security numbers.

From this point forward...keep all rooms locked that she is not allowed in or simply no longer allow her over to the can meet in public places..

also call your bank and ensure that your checking account has a possible fraud alert on it as well - as if she's clever enough to steal the tax returns, she might have taken an old check as well....that could lead to huge problems as well..


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

I work for the fraud department of a loan company.

You do not need proof that she took your important papers before you place a fraud alert with the credit bureaus. Call one of them today- Trans Union, Experian, or Equifax. If you place a fraud alert with one of the bureaus, they are supposed to notify the other bureaus for you as well.
The good thing about a fraud alert is it does not make it so you cannot get credit when you need it. It simply makes it so that lenders must call you at the phone number you provide on your fraud alert, to make sure YOU were the one who requested the credit. You also will get free copies of your credit report so you can make sure there are no fraudulent accounts listed. Pay great attention to the credit inquiries. If they applied for payday loans with your social security number, then the "past due" accounts will not yet be listed but you will most likely see a credit inquiry. I believe the alert is on for 6 months but you can renew it.
Yes, you need to find a better place to keep your papers. Lock them up. Get a mailbox that locks and make sure she does not know where you keep the keys. Get a paper shredder and immediately shred bills you no longer need and any credit card applications. You can also google how to opt out of receiving credit card apps in the mail- this is a great way to prevent thieves from stealing your mail and opening credit cards in your name, and also helps a bit in cutting down the amount of paper going to the landfill. Lifelock is a credit monitoring service that advertises their CEO's ss# on their website, they are so confident in their services. I think they are a bit pricey, but it is an option. However, anyone and EVERYONE should review all their credit reports at least once a year, and you are entitled to receive them free 1x a year or if you are a victim of ID theft. Go to I rotate it so I review TransUnion in January, Experian 4 months later, and Equifax 4 months later. **(keep in mind that not all creditors report to all 3 bureaus; they may or they may report to just 1; however I still feel like I am keeping a better check on potential fraud this way).
The police are probably not going to be able to help you much with this matter. They get soooooo many claims of ID theft. Anyone can make a report. It probably will not get investigated unless you have overwhelming evidence and damages or there is a major ID theft ring involved.
PM me if you have any questions and I will do my best to help.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

riffing off of Cheryl O, if you had any refunds direct deposited, chances are your bank acct number was on the return.

I don't know what you should do about this, but I think if she's stealing from you, you need to get a file cabinet that locks for your important documents.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Um, you actually have no proof she took the tax returns either. The only way you will have proof is if they actually steal your identity. I would suggest paying for a credit monitoring service and next time she visits lock up that which you don't want her to take.

Even if you get them to confess and give them back it would have taken two seconds to make a copy of them.

Dusting for finger prints doesn't prove anything because you allowed her in the house, of course her fingerprints will be all over the house. She was in your house and now they are missing. The police are going to ask how you know she took them and if you tell them that they are going to tell you there is nothing they can do.

Let me explain why I know. My ex husband used to get my younger kids to let him in. Things were missing, I know he took them. When I called the police and told them what happened they said there was nothing they could do because that is not proof he took anything. He wasn't even allowed in my home! Even then they could do nothing. You allowed her in your home, get it?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

File fraud alert with everyone you can.

We had a scare and we currently have a fraud alert with credit reporting agencies. We have perfect credit and will fight to the end to protect it.

Call IRS as well, let them know you were exposed.

Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would be FURIOUS....such a violation of trust and privacy!

In addition to what the others have recommended, contact each credit reporting agency and ask if your minor children have a credit file. They should NOT have a credit file. You cannot get a free credit report online for a minor child. You must contact the reporting agencies. Minor ID theft is on the rise and can have devastating and long lasting effects when it is discovered, usually many years later.

Next, you can have each credit reporting agency issue a MINOR PROTECTIVE STATEMENT. This will freeze their credit until the age of 18. I just spoke to Transunion about this 2 days ago. Transunion requires a letter and copy of the minor's birth certificate and social security card. We are seriously considering this protective measure for our children after learning of a friend's child who was victimized since the age of 10 and discovered a few months ago at age 18. On a side note, we want to make sure that this type of freeze will not negatively impact our children if they were to apply for college financial aid when they are older. Should have that answer next week.

Lastly, don't think that returning your tax returns means that is over. They could have made copies and distributed it to whomever. Protect yourself and your children.

Let us know what happens after you speak to your stepdaughter and her mother tonight.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree to put alerts on all of your accounts and SSNs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Does your husband want to file charges on his daughter? If so, it might be a good wake up call, so she will not go on to believe that it's OK to steal, lie and cheat her OWN family as well as others. My concern would be if her mother asked her to do this?

I would suggest that her father have a serious talk with her and show her the evidence. At her age unless she's one hard cookie, she will fess up and if her mother is behind this, she should not be living with the woman.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I would let the POLICE handle this. You need to go online and print out free credit reports for each member of your household. If you bank somewhere, it might be possible to get them to run the reports for you. I would then put a fraud alert for each person with each credit agency, including the kids.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Call the police any time you think something has been stolen from your home!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

First off, you can obtain a credit report and check it to see if there is anything out of place on it. You can always flag your social, but you need to do it with all three credit agencies to make sure you are covered. Stealing is stealing, I am sure that if you tell them you will call the cops and report them, they will return them to you. If you know someone who is law enforcement the you might just ask them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

You should file a fraud alert because you beleive "someone" took your tax returns. I would be very worried about someone destroying our great credit too, in these times it has become so very important to getting ahead. The thing I don't understand is do you have proof, her on camera, stealing them or some other time she was in your room?
The problem I have with calling the police is I find it hard to beleive a 13 year old would steal any type of paperwork if not pushed by her Mother. I mean how would she even think of it or use the information herself? I'm not sure what else she's done but for your husband to "be done with the little girl" is pretty sad. It's his daughter, he really never gets to be done and certainly not for taking what in her eyes must seem like just paperwork. Is it possible she doesn't understand the seriousness? Is it probable she's being manipulated by her Mother? Should she be charged with a class 4 felony for this particular offense? Seems pretty harsh and that you both may be taking out your anger at her Mom on her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Flagstaff on

I think you are right that she took it for child support purposes. Does your husband owe back child support? If so, she can use his SSN and bank account from the tax forms to garnish your checking account. It may be a good idea to drain your checking account. They can't touch the first $300 if it's a joint account, but they can take all of the rest.



answers from Philadelphia on

your question actually stuck with me so much that I found it again to reply...
I understand your fear and you desire to protect your family. Putting credit alerts and freezing your younger childrens credit make sense.. but legal charges and more so "being done with this little girl" really???
For starters when you talk about protecting your family.... you realize she is part of if it right? She is and always will be your husbands daughter. Willl you be ok if he is "done with" on of your kids someday if they do something illegeal? Will you ban your child from your house if they mess up when they are older? I highly doubt it,
i fully support parents holding their children responsable,.. even if that means legal consequence. But for legal i think they need to 1 realize what they did is illegeal and 2 it be a pattern. From previous post you have not even seen this girl in over a year until this summer.. So this is not pattern of her stealing from you,
it sound from reading your other posts that is a very angry little girl who feels abondoned by he father , At some point your kids will have attitudes too ... does your hubby get to stop tryin with them too?
Sounds like she is being used by her mother. and your husband is making it very easy for mom to paint him as the bad guy she needs your protection as much as your kids do.
I agree you are taking anger at the mother out on the kid.

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