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IRS says it's doing more to fight identity theft

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The Internal Revenue Service says it's ramping up efforts against identity thieves, doubling the number of employees it has fighting them full-time to more than 3,000.

The tax agency has come under intensifying criticism that it's not doing enough to fight identity theft; the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in a July 2012 report estimated the IRS may have let slip through during 2011 filing season 1.5 million tax returns potentially filed with a fraudulent identity, thus unknowingly issuing more than $5.2 billion in in wrongful tax returns.

IRS officials acknowledged late last year that an internal push to deliver tax refunds quickly has exacerbated the problem.

In a Feb. 7 statement, IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller said the agency is "strengthening our processing systems to watch for identity theft and detect refund fraud before it occurs," and that the IRS detected in 2012 $20 billion worth of fraudulent refunds--far more than the $14 billion it detected in 2011.

That same day, the IRS also announced an anti-identity-thief sweep led to the January arrest of 109 individuals.

For more:
- go to the statement

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