Michael Oluwasegun Kazeem, a 24 year old Nigerian living in Oregon was sentenced this week  to seven years in prison for his participation in an income tax identity theft scam in which he and his co-conspirators filed 2,900 income tax returns using personal information stolen from a variety of sources including the IRS’ own Get Transcript program by which people are able to get copies of their previous income tax returns.  Kazeem and his fellow criminals successfully obtained more than 11 million dollars in bogus refunds from the IRS.
Along with protecting your personal information, particularly your Social Security number,  as much as you can, the best thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim of income tax identity theft is to file your income tax return early.  Income tax identity theft can only be accomplished when the criminal files an income tax return using your name and Social Security number before you file your own legitimate income tax return so consider filing as early as possible.