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Worried Central Oregonians report IRS Social Security tax forms arrive partly opened in mail

Express concern that Social Security numbers, other personal info exposed

(Update: Adding video, comments from residents; also La Pine, Sisters, Prineville)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Some tampered mail has stirred concern among some Bend-area residents as personal information is exposed. Ironically, the Social Security benefits tax statement was open and exposing their Social Security numbers, among other info.

Some residents living in the 97702 ZIP code are reporting the key piece of mail has arrived in a form that leaves their Social Security numbers and other personal information exposed.

What makes it especially alarming to them is that the mailings in question are the IRS Form 1099, which documents payments made to someone, with copies sent to the worker and the IRS.

Deschutes River Woods resident Vera Gilbert said the perforated sides on her and her husband's 1099 forms for their Social Security benefits had been neatly torn off.

She shared a post about it on Nextdoor.com, to see if others had the same issue. 

“Within an hour or so, people start responding saying, 'The same thing happened to me,' so I know it’s not just a coincidence," Gilbert said Wednesday. "You can tell (the form) hadn’t gone through the sorting machine, because it wasn’t jammed or all shredded here."

Other residents also commented that the left tear-off stub, which protects and conceals the information on the form, had been removed, exposing their Social Security numbers.

One thing Gilbert pointed out is that she has a locked mailbox, so it's unlikely a stranger walked by and tampered with the mail. That leads her to believe it happened at some point in the U.S. Postal Service mail delivery process.

“It raised a lot of red flags for me," Gilbert said.

One anonymous couple said the same thing happened to them last Thursday. They received a photo of their mail through the USPS informed delivery option -- and in the photo, the perforated sides were intact.

But by the time their mail was delivered, it was torn off. They're also convinced it happened while with the USPS.

Gilbert said she immediately reached out to the Social Security office, once she saw the tear.

“And they said that they haven’t received any complaints, that I was the first to call in, and they advised us to call the credit bureau, to stop anyone from trying to take out our credit with, using our Social Security number," Gilbert said. "So we did that.”

Gilbert said she received a few responses from people living in the 97701 ZIP Code who said their forms were not compromised.

And later Wednesday, after our story aired, NewsChannel 21 heard from two others -- residents in La Pine, Sisters and Prineville -- who said one side of their Social Security 1099 tax forms were torn open as well -- "neatly torn open on one end," the Prineville resident said.

The regional spokesperson for USPS said he was unaware of the issue.

Author Profile Photo

Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

Comments

32 Comments

    1. I don’t think we want the post office closed down. I hope that an investigation is completed and the mail carrier is prosecuted. It shouldn’t be difficult to figure out who the carrier was that day.

  1. There is no standard for 1099s other than the required # of fields, which is dependent on the type of 1099. Not sure what type 1099 an employer would send to an employee as that is not what 1099s are for generally. Also, nice graphic but that is a copy of a 1099 that would be sent to the IRS not an individual or business. The way to tell is that it is red in color. These folks issue is with the company that designed the form and perhaps whomever is/was responsible for mailing. That typed. if these people are being 1099d by their employers, they will be in for a shock because if they really are an employee, than they and their employer are most likely breaking the law.

  2. This is silly. Sending out 1099s in the mail is nothing new, and back in the day it was the only way to get it. Mail theft is not new, either. These people can request electronic delivery if they are so worried (how I get mine, which I’m sure is true for most people), or they can rent a PO Box.

    1. What is nuts is this line in the article!

      “What makes it especially alarming to them is that the mailings in question are the IRS Form 1099, which details how much money an employer paid the taxpayer in the past year.”! That’s not even what a 1099 is for! They already changed the graphic in an attempt to stay relevant amidst their amateur reporting! Time to move this to a community based platform and can the moderator is this is the best they can do!

      1. “The IRS 1099 Form is a collection of tax forms documenting different types of payments made by an individual or a business that typically isn’t your employer. The payer fills out the form with the appropriate details and sends copies to you and the IRS, reporting payments made during the tax year.”

        1. Well done on attempting to fix the article. It only took 3 edits! BTW- the 1099 its also used to report real estate sales, gambling winnings, The sale of equities such as stocks, etc to the federal and state governments. It is also used to report unemployment benefits, which last I heard were paid out by neither an individual or a business. I wonder if the same crackerjack that wrote that, reported on the BLM carcass piles yesterday…

          1. Saw the story at 4. The example shown by the folks we interviewed was a 1099 statement for Social Security benefits, from the SSA. Please be kind to our young reporters and your grizzled harried editor who works to make the stories as best as possible. We are sorta required to have an “early look” version of their stories up to promote them by midday (deadline!, and by necessity, they are not going to be fully fleshed out, but will have more info later in the day. Again, please don’t kick this attempt at some transparency.

                1. I have to say, with the details now shown here in the story, it’s been completely transformed. No longer is it another one of those old-people-complaining-on-Nextdoor episode about routine mailbox pilfering, but something that seems to indicate tampering by USPS employees. I hope this is going to be investigated by the Postal Inspector, who is in charge such things.

            1. agreed! i am tired of the bickering that does nothing. One other question though, when you hire reporters at the entry level, are they hired for a specific area of reporting (like sports or outdoors) or is it all spread out and they all work in different areas?

    2. There is no automatic delivery when it comes to the 1099 form. The 1099 form is always delivered by mail every tax season. There is no other choice for the yearly 1099 tax form.

    3. The point of this story is mail tampering which included SSN’s were comprised. Mail tampering is a federal crime. Per the evidence, the crime was done by a federal employee. Let’s not minimize the crime by stating that “these” people are at fault for not receiving the 1099’s per your standards.

  3. Another ordeal that will be blamed on as they like to say the other guy. Whatever goes down with the Ukrainian ordeal if it goes south sure Biden will be exonerated.

  4. I don’t think we want the post office closed down. I hope that an investigation is completed and the mail carrier is prosecuted. It shouldn’t be difficult to figure out who the carrier was that day.

  5. Hey Barney, It happened to me in the 97702 area. I also have a little more information for whoever is trying to get to the bottom of this at the post office.

    We have a locked post office box. Two of us at the same residence received our 1099s on the same day. One 1099 was opened on one side with the tab completely gone. The other 1099 arrived completely sealed.

    We have USPS informed delivery so each morning I receive an email with images of all the mail we will receive that day. I went back to find that on the 1099 we received opened, the tab was torn more than halfway when the image was taken by the post office. Looking at the image of the 1099 tab being torn as much as it was would not be what someone would do intentionally as it would not be enough to properly read what was inside. But when we received the physical 1099 the torn tab was completely gone.

    My personal opinion is that a machine at the PO tore my 1099 partway before that photo was taken and then another machine or a person completely removed that tab after the photo was taken.

    Hopefully, this is all just a malfunctioning machine and nothing nefarious.

    1. The USPS informed delivery is very good to have. I think that you’re right on the money. Too bad that the Z just wanted to have it sensationalized. But that’s what you get when you hire inexperienced people.

    2. Thanks; so this could just be a case of the IRS 1099s not being designed to endure the handling from the USPS machines. Talk about one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing.

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