Statistics from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) show that more than 12 million cases of identity theft take place annually, and most of the victims have no idea it has even happened until some time later. Often, an individual will only realize that they have been the victim of theft of identity when they go to file their taxes and the IRS informs them that someone has already filed and collected the victim’s tax return.
If you are one of these individuals who has fallen prey to identity theft, you may have been able to detect it earlier if you had regularly monitored your credit report. However, because an increasing number of fraudulent tax forms are filed every year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is ramping up it’s capabilities and hiring more professionals to tackle cases of theft of identity and track down the criminals committing this fraud.
By June 30 of this year, the IRS had already investigated 1100 criminal cases of identity theft for the fiscal year, surpassing the total number of incidents in 2012 long before the year was even through.
To beef up their capabilities, the department went about allocating more than 3,000 workers to not only watching out for this crime but making it harder for it to happen.
“Refund fraud caused by identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS today,” Danny Werfel, interim leader of the IRS, told the House subcommittee in a debate facing budget cuts to the agency.
While the government is doing all it can to thwart theft of identity, you need to take actions on your own behalf to ensure that identity theft doesn’t catch you off guard.