Over the past month we have seen an increase in cases involving fraud with the IRS and the tax filing season approaching. Several subjects have reported that an IRS tax return has already been filed or an attempt has been made to file a return when the victim has not completed their taxes yet. While this appears to be a national issue it is also affecting our area and city as well. Unfortunately, there is not a pro-active response that can prevent being victimized other than completing your taxes as soon as possible. Most people will not even know they’ve been victimized until they file their taxes and are notified by the IRS. A few steps to follow if this were to happen to you. The IRS request that you file a police report and then either contact the IRS ID Theft Hotline at 1-800-908-4490 or visit their website at www.irs.gov and follow the link for ID Theft. The victim must then fill out a two page affidavit with their current tax return (it must be paper not e-file). They also provide contact information for the 3 credit bureaus and other resources. It is NOT uncommon for a victim of the IRS scam to be a victim of additional ID theft through credit cards, bank accounts, etc.