BETWEEN THE LINES: With technology continuing to progress at a steady clip, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies regularly alert the public about a parallel surge of electronic crimes related to computers, handheld gadgets and the internet, such as identity theft and phishing (fishing for personal information via suspicious emails).
In recent years, the number of identity theft incidents, due to the annual increase in E-filing of tax returns, has jumped during tax season and has reached new levels in 2012. Last year, the IRS reported more than 260,000 suspicious returns totaling more than $1.4 billion, which was discovered before it reached the wrong taxpayers. This year, so far, two million returns have been flagged for investigation.
In a nationwide crackdown, the IRS stepped up suspected identity thefts as the tax season began in January and said it investigated more than 100 people in 23 states.
Even so, the crime persists. Regrettably, I found out first-hand.