Identity Thieves Scam IRS, Sting Filers

It's coming down to the wire for filing 2011 tax returns. If the pressure of next week's deadline isn't enough, filers now have to worry about the rising threat of identity theft.

The IRS now ranks identity theft at the top of its “Dirty Dozen” annual list of tax scams. Criminals steal Social Security Numbers, then use the numbers to file fraudulent returns and collect the refunds. When the victims attempt to file the genuine returns, the IRS won’t accept them.

“Identity theft is a real problem. It’s a very unfortunate thing that takes place, but think how easy it is.”

Janet Meade teaches accountancy and taxation at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business.

“So the best advice right now is to guard your Social Security Number, guard any of those 1099s that are coming to you in the mail, guard all your tax information.”

If you believe your personal information has been stolen and used for tax purposes, you can contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...