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To Catch a Thief

Identity Theft and Fraudulent Tax Return Filings

I was reviewing some staggering statistics regarding identity theft today.  In particular, how identity theft increases during tax season, and as this time draws closer I am reminded that we all have to be more careful.   Looking around the country, I notice that nearly every state has registered complaints of falsely filed tax returns where somebody’s identity is stolen.  In these cases, the thief files a fraudulent return and has the refund deposited into their own bank account.   While this may be further reason to manage your tax withholdings through the year, it still does not eliminate the need for being much more careful with how we handle our personal financial information.  In 2014, it’s estimated there will have been 11.5 million claims of identity theft.  In 2013 those claims cost the county $24.7 billion and the average loss was nearly $5000 for every one of those claims.  64% of the reported cases come from the misuse of a credit card.  I bring this up because on Friday, January 2nd, I’m going to post an article to Facebook that details 10 places to use your credit card instead of your debit card.  Read more