A major IRS and Justice Department crackdown on identity theft shows how widespread and common it has become. Tuesday the tax collector announced that a national sweep had led to 69 indictments, targeting 105 people in 23 states, including cases where people are alleged to have impersonated the dead, the mentally disabled and citizens of Puerto Rico in order to get their hands on millions in fraudulent tax refunds.
The government asserts that it stopped $1.4 billion in bad refunds last year, up from $262 million in 2010.
You can get a full version of the graphic by clicking on the map here or by going to the IRS site at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/ci-idt-casemap.pdf.
The IRS also has information on how to detect when you may have been the victim of identity theft, or could become one. For example, if you have received an email claiming to be from the IRS, it probably isn’t.