Tax time is Christmas time, one notorious identity thief once told me. Even when you’re in prison, he added.
Which was exactly where he was during our interview. As he scanned the yard to make sure our conversation wasn’t being noticed, he explained how easy it was for thieves like him to buy Social Security Numbers from other inmates for a few hundreds dollars, and generate thousands of dollars by having contacts on the outside submit fraudulent tax returns using those "rented" SSNs.
Which is just one of the reasons why the IRS takes identity theft and fraud so seriously, and why each year around this time they publish their list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams.