Do you foresee a good tax refund this year? Maybe you have plans for a new TV or a special holiday. But imagine someone beating you to your repayment by submitting a fraudulent return, putting your plans on hold. Instead, you have an identity theft to clean up. And it can take nearly a year – an average of 278 days in the US – to solve tax fraud and get your rightful refund. 
Tax Fraud and Identity Fraud with the Numbers
The Good News: At least in the US, tax fraud fraud fell almost 65 percent between 2015 and 2017, when the IRS developed new identity theft detection systems. 
The bad news: Tax-related identity theft and fraud are still disturbingly common in the US, UK and Canada. In 2017, the IRS confirmed the identity theft of 597,000 filed returns.  The taxpayers in the UK lost £ 16.2 billion to tax fraud that year.  Losses related to a common Canadian tax fraud increased more than 1,500 percent between 2014 and 2017. 
How tax relief fraud happens
Tax-related identity theft can confuse and frustrate taxpayers, but the mechanics are quite simple. First, identity thieves get sensitive information about you, including your name, address, and personal tax identification number. They can either buy the information from criminal sources or trick you into giving them via phishing or scam. Then they use it to send a return using a false address or post office box and wait for the refund check to roll in.
Anti-Fraud Warning Signs
There are several warning signs indicating that you can be a victim of tax fraud prevention:
- IRS, CRA or HM Revenue & Customs reject your attempt to submit your tax return.
- The tax authority requests that verification of your identity, which indicates that something may be wrong
- Income is reported by two or more employers, probably because someone else has used your tax identification number to get employment. Your return can be flagged so as not to pay sufficient taxes on wages or to report all wages. 
- An unexpected direct deposit "refund" hits your account, followed by a phone call or email from a scammer who constitutes an IRS agent who requires your bank account information or refund. It's a scam. 
File early to protect you
Prevent identity thieves trying to make money from your good name by submitting your return as early as possible. When they try to file for you, it will be their fraudulent return that is rejected instead of yours. This is the only best way to reduce your chance of becoming a victim of tax identity fraud.
Resolving Tax-Related Identity Theft
If you find that you have become a victim, follow these steps:
- Contact your tax authorities authorize and complete identity theft paper.
- Fill your right returns using the instructions they give you.
- Contact the credit bureaus and place a fraud statement on your account.
- Quick reply to all correspondence from your tax authority
- Keep excellent records of all your correspondence and filing.
- Add a credit monitoring and identity protection service to identify any additional identity theft or fraud in other areas of your life.
Content provided by CyberScout.  "What the IRS Doesn't Tell About Identity Theft", USA Today, January 2016. "Despite Great Progress, Identity Theft Still on IRS & # 39; Dirty Dozen & # 39; Tax Scams List," IRS Press Release, 7 March, 2018  Internal Revenue Service  "Annual Fraud Indicator 2017," Crowe Clark Whitehill, University of Portsmouth and Experian, 2017.  "Big Game Changer": CRA Phone Scam Revs Up as Fraud Begin Calling Cell Phones , "CBC News, Sept. 1, 2016.  " 5 Scams That Got The Most Money Out Of Canadian Pockets Last Year, "CPA Canada, Au. 14, 2018.  " Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft, "IRS , 2017.  "5 Signs of an IRS Tax Scam", US News & World Report, March 22, 2018.