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When Flora Goldberg tried to file her tax return last year, she learned that someone had beaten her to it.

Watch out Florida! Coming to a town near you! Identity theft has violent criminals trading guns for laptops. Ledgers are stolen for social security numbers in order to file phony tax returns. Most times, refunds are returned on convenient but hard-to-trace prepaid debit cards. In addition, postal workers have been harassed, robbed and, in one case, murdered as they have made their rounds with mail trucks full of debit cards and master keys to mailboxes. From 2008 to 2011, the number of returns filed by identity thieves and stopped by the I.R.S. increased significantly. Last year, it was at least 1.3 million. With only 30 percent of the filings reviewed so far, the number is already at 2.6 million.


1. Based on the figures quoted in the article, how many fraudulent identity theft filings are anticipated for 2012?
2. What is the increase in identity theft filings when comparing the amount in 2011 to the projected amount for 2012?
3. Based on the article, can you suggest any controls that would prevent this explosion in identity theft with respect to the moneys of the U.S. Treasury?


Alvarez, L. (2012). With Personal Data in Hand, Thieves File Early and Often. The New York Times, May 26 (Retrievable online at