Houston, Prepare For Tax-Return Identity Theft (Even Though It Looks Like We're Doing Okay)
The Internal Revenue Service announced this afternoon the results of a monthlong crackdown on identity theft, and it look like there's more than enough of the crime to spread around.
Be careful out there.
Houston, though, isn't as bad as most cities. The city was one of 17 "high-risk places identified by the IRS" for a special compliance effort that included visits to almost 200 "money-service businesses," but not much was found.
An IRS map (see below) of "enforcement actions" from the January crackdown shows two to four actions in Houston and Kingwood, as compared to a mountain of actions taken in Miami, LA and New York. Nationwide 734 enforcement actions were taken against 389 suspects as a result of the January crackdown.
Still, IRS officials cautioned people to take steps to prevent being hit by ID thieves, such as ignoring e-mails or social-media messages purporting to be from the IRS.
The IRS has a ID-theft webpage with other tips and advice.