BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A warning for all Maryland taxpayers, as thousands of fraudulent tax returns are being filed, as the state’s comptroller office is trying to stop any illegal activity and is putting out a warning for the third time this tax season.

Fifteen tax preparers are suspended by the state of Maryland from doing any business until they can prove that they are not trying to try to cheat the state, using fraudulent tax refund requests.

“We’ve put aside 76,000 returns, totaling $174-million that we have not sent out in fraudulent requests,” says Maryland Comptroller, Peter Franchot.

He says there are currently 10,000 victims of financial fraud in the state of Maryland and is calling the people behind the fraud, “crooks.”

“Who were stealing information, social security numbers and things like that, and using that to file tax returns ahead of the Maryland citizen.”

Within recent weeks, letters were sent to potential victims including Brian Bolter of Annapolis.

“Whoever stole our identity, tried to file the taxes for the IRS and the state, hoping to get a refund,” says Bolter.

Now if you’ve received the letter, but you’ve already filed, you’re not required to do anything,

But if you haven’t filed, act quickly. Once suspicious returns are detected, the tax preparer’s submissions are halted.

“Not just on these fraudulent requests, but all of your requests; none of it’s going to be processed, until you come in and sit down and show us that you’re actually on the level,” says Franchot.

The victims of these cases could be any of us. Even Attorney General Brian Frosh has fallen victim.

“Fraudsters stole Attorney General Frosh’s identity, and his wife’s identity and filed taxes ahead of them. I mean, if it can happen to the attorney general, it can happen to anybody.

Franchot says he’s asked the legislature for help with the Taxpayer Protection Act, and he’s hoping it will pass Monday night.

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