IRS Says Tax-Related Identity Theft Is Rising

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 @ 9:53PM

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“Tax fraud through identity theft has become an ordinary street crime,” Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth, told a panel of witnesses during a March 20 hearing on the IRS’s response to the problem.

“All the fraudster has to do is file a false return electronically, and then have the tax refund loaded onto a prepaid debit card. They never have to use a real physical address or even open a bank account, so the thief is nearly impossible to track down,” said Nelson.

The number of identity theft cases the IRS received between 2009 and 2011 nearly tripled. The Congressional Research Service says the IRS saw a five-fold increase in tax-related identity theft incidents from 51,702 in 2008, to 248,357 in 2010. According to the most recent data, the IRS is tracking nearly 300,000 identity theft cases as of March 7, 2012.

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