Experts: Taxpayer ID theft a growing problem


More than one million cases of taxpayer ID theft were reported last year, and the number is expected to grow this year.

When it comes to taxes, Paul Broussard is worried about the same things as everyone else in Houston.

"About doing it right, and making sure that I turn everything in to IRS," he said.

Broussard now has something else to worry about: tax ID theft. More than a million cases were reported last year.

One way to keep yourself safe is by using a well-established firm if you have someone else prepare the forms.

Broussard is using Houston's Neighborhood Center's free tax service.

"During this time, places are popping up everywhere and you don't know who is going to take your information and do something else with it," he said.

Another concern is having your real return rejected by the IRS.

"They file their tax return, they expect to get a refund in about 21 days and they get a letter from the IRS saying we've already paid you your refund," Houston CPA Bob Martin said.

Martin says fraudulent returns cause big problems for real taxpayers.

"If you are a victim, it could take you several extra months to up to a year to get the thing straightened out," he said.

Martin says ID thieves take W-2s and tax forms right out of mailboxes and suggests getting a locking mail box to keep your correspondences safe. He also recommends electronic filing as early as possible.

The IRS has a special tax ID protection unit. If you think there is a problem, call them and they can put a hold on your return while they figure out what's happening, it's 800-908-4490.

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