VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Thousands of people in Virginia Beach have received the tax information of their neighbors because of a mailing error.
According to the Virginia Department of Taxation, up to 15,000 taxpayers, "mostly in the Virginia Beach area," received tax documents with someone else’s information.
The department said it investigated the mistake with a print vendor to identify the people who were affected.
Pat Heckel is one of the Virginia Beach residents who received a card with her name and address on the outside, but someone else’s details on the inside, including her neighbors' tax refund information and the last four digits of their Social Security number.
"There should be some kind of a safeguard before they go out in the mail, it’s just unprecedented, I’ve never seen anything like this," she said.
Heckel said the mistake sparked privacy concerns for herself, her daughter, and other people affected.
She said she's now worried about identity theft or other scams.
"Especially now with technology being the way it is and the way scammers have all kinds of algorithms and things they could put in, even if they just have four digits of your SSN, who knows how they could get the whole number," she said.
The Virginia Department of Taxation said personal account information on the forms is redacted, so taxpayers are "safe and secure."
Officials said they’re mailing corrected tax forms to everyone affected.
They also asked taxpayers who received incorrect forms to shred them and throw them away.
13News Now asked how the mistake happened, but Virginia Tax leaders said they have no comment on that at this time.
Heckel said she saw many people talking about the issue on the neighborhood social networking site Nextdoor.
“It’s widespread throughout the whole southern part of Virginia Beach," she said. "If these are the mistakes they’re making, I wonder about other things that are going wrong."
Not everyone receives a 1099-G form. That document is often used to report unemployment compensation or income tax refunds from the previous year.
The Virginia Department of Taxation said it will contact individuals impacted, and released this updated statement Monday night:
"While we remain confident that taxpayer data is safe and secure, we understand that those directly affected by this issue have concerns. We are exploring options to alleviate those concerns and will provide further information once we have finalized the details."