If Melissa McCarthy was behind every identity theft, it might not be so terrifying. Unfortunately, that is likely not the case (although, it has not been confirmed).
Identity thieves are getting more sophisticated by the day. They used to steal your credit card number to buy a video game and grab a slice at the food court, but now they’re stealing identities to file tax returns and collect refunds.
The IRS has certainly improved its defense against phony refund requests—last year, as of March 5, 2016, the IRS identified 42,148 fraudulent tax returns involving identity theft, and identified 20,224 prisoner tax returns for screening, with $227 million claimed in fraudulent funds. But these are simply the cases the agency is aware of, and there are likely many more. The IRS continues to expand its efforts to detect tax refund fraud.