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Watch out, tax identity theft is a 'growing problem'

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 9:49 a.m. MST

Jared Hosenfeld dumps documents into a can for shredding. The shredding stop was part of the Utah Attorney General's Office Identity Theft Tour . The purpose was to provide an opportunity for people to bring old documents and have them securely disposed of.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

To add to the stress of taxes, identity theft to claim refunds is on the rise, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

The IRS considers this a growing problem as thieves file fake tax returns using someone else’s social-security number. It can take victims months or sometimes years to clean up the case and it is an expensive process.

Besides being a big hassle, it delays a refund, which causes financial plans to be shifted when they expected money doesn’t come.

"Every one of these clients is upset and venting — I want to pay for my cruise, do this, do that," Byron Shinn, a Florida accountant, told the Wall Street Journal. "I've got to deliver the bad news."

The most common victims are the elderly or the young. Shinn, suggested getting a special identification number, which is available from the IRS. It allows taxpayers to show they are the real filer of a return.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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