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Tax ID theft on the rise

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Amarillo, Texas - Most tax payers are now able to file their 2012 income taxes. And with that the IRS is taking measures to combat a quickly growing problem.

Thursday was the first day to file 2012 returns. But the IRS is reporting the number of fraudulent returns filed has nearly tripled within the last year.

All they need is your social security number. Thieves can then file a false return in your name and collect your refund.

"I think it is probably increasingly just getting bigger and bigger. I know that it's like tripled within the last couple of years," Tammy Belcher, Lovelady, Christy & Associates tax manager says.

The IRS reports in 2008 there were 47,730 incidents identified. Within just nine months in 2012, there were already 641,690 incidents, nearly tripling the previous year's total.

"It seems it is becoming easier and easier these days because of so much technology and social media and so forth available. But, generally people just need to be on guard at all times with their personal information," Larry White, Brown, Graham & Company CPA says.

Most people are unaware they are even victim's until it is too late. It's reported the IRS may issue up to $21 billion in fraudulent tax returns in the next five years.

"If someone is a victim of identity theft as it relates to income tax returns, it's going to cause some headaches for that person. And that person need to first of all notify law enforcement officials and give a report, but that person also needs to file a form with the internal revenue service," White says.

CPA's say it could take anywhere from a few months to more than a year to fix any fraudulent returns filed. Which could mean you wouldn't see any of that tax return money until the case is cleared up.

The IRS does not send out any emails asking for your identification information, nor do they make phone calls. They have trained 35,000 employees who work with taxpayers to recognize identity theft indicators and help people who have fallen victim.

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