A good indication as to how pervasive income tax identity theft has become is the recent indictments filed in California against 32 members of the Long Beach gang called the Insane Crips. Among the charges were 299 counts of identity theft. Filing income tax returns using names and stolen Social Security numbers of their victims, the gang managed to obtain more than 3 million dollars in refunds loaded on to prepaid debit cards, which is an option offered by the IRS. The fact that young, unsophisticated gang members are able to steal this much money from the IRS filing fraudulent income tax returns is a good indication of how easy this crime is to accomplish.
The best place to find a helping hand is always at the end of your own arm. Do not depend on the IRS protecting you from income tax identity theft. Protect the privacy of your Social Security number as best you can and file your income tax return as early as possible so that an identity thief cannot file one before you and get a refund before you file your return. If you are a victim of income tax identity theft, it can take many months before the IRS will complete its investigation of the matter and send you your proper refund.