Though tax time may bring worries of audits from the IRS, many Americans should be more worried about identity theft. Last year, more than 1.1 million fraudulent tax returns were filed by identity thieves, according to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
That number is up 21 times from just 2008, when 51,700 fraudulent returns were filed. The cost of those counterfeit returns is only set to grow in the coming years. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration estimates that tax identity theft could cost the IRS $21 billion over the next five years.