Rise of Identity Theft

By Joshua Powers 2-21-14

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The Internal Revenue Service is dealing with a major problem, identity fraud is on the rise, and it is easier than ever to commit.

Rashia Wilson, a resident of Florida, stated that she purchased a $92,000 Audi, posted on Facebook calling herself the queen of the IRS, and proclaimed that she was a millionaire. Wilson and her accomplice used stolen social security numbers, a computer, and a basic knowledge of the process to file a tax return, to defraud millions, as was reported by the Boston Globe.

Even more startling is that Wilson has a sixth grade education level, which brought her lawyer to her defense when he stated that it should not be that easy to defraud the government.
Identity fraud has taken off at an alarming rate. Drug dealers are turning to stealing identity to make a quick profit, hundreds of patients had their identity stolen from a medical assistant, and prisoners had their identities stolen from guards.
271,000 people had their identity stolen in 2010. Compare that to the first six months of last year, where 1.6 million people were affected by identity theft. The IRS says that the incidents have resulted in billions of dollars lost, as refunds were given.

As tax season rolled around this year, the IRS gave 1.2 million people a special protection PIN which needs to be submitted with the tax returns. These codes are for people that have been the target of identity theft. The number of codes given out in 2011 was 250,000.

The IRS says understaffing and a lack of training is to blame for the problem, as the average timeframe for a resolve on the cases was 312 days. The IRS says they improved response times recently, knocking the time down to 120 days. But the problem with identity fraud still looms, and residents are still in danger.